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Native American Contributions to Sports



While researching THE FALCON, THE WORLF, AND THE HUMMINGBIRD, I learned about the many sports Native American tribes created, especially those in northeastern America and Canada.


Here are a few:


  • Lacrosse, originally known as stickball, is thought to date back to 1100 A.D. and was first played by tribes in the St. Lawrence River Valley area.


  • Shinny was a game now know as ice hockey. There were two teams who tried to get a ball into the opponent’s net using curved sticks.


  • Snow snake was played by four teams at a time who competed to throw a pole, similar to a javelin, the farthest.


The Native American’s Guardian Association also lists other competitive sports, which were often meant to condition men for war, though women would play, too, to varying degrees depending on the traditions of their tribes.


Those games include canoeing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, relay races and tug-of-war.


Have you ever played any of those sports, or done those activities?


Me: canoeing, tobogganing, relay races and tug-of-war.


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For updates about Martha’s forthcoming books, news and giveaways, subscribe to her website: MarthaEngber.com.


THE FALCON, THE WOLF AND THE HUMMINGBIRD a historical novel, Sept. 19, 2023


BLISS ROAD, a memoir


WINTER LIGHT, a novel


THE WIND THIEF, a novel


GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers


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