Thursday, November 24, 2022

Tricksters: Native American Games and Stories

In yesterday's book from Joseph Bruchac, Keepers of the Earth, there were learning activities included, so I wanted to divert here this week and include a book by Joseph Bruchac coauthored with his eldest son, James Bruchac; this book also has wonderful stories and activities: Native American Games and Stories.

The games and stories are divided thematically: ball games and team sports; bowl games and other games of chance; games of skill; and awareness games.

Here are the stories you will find in the book: The Ball Game between the Animals and the Birds; The Ball Players in the Sky; The Good Mind's Game; Kesitce: the Moccasin Game; How Day and Night Came to Be; How the Two Brothers Followed the Hoop; and Nanabush and the Ducks.

As you can guess, tricksters are not the kinds of characters you want to play games with. Coyote, for example, plays the game of Kesitce, but he loses everyone's trust as a result. You can also read about the trickster Nanabush, and the famous story of how he fooled the ducks. 

The illustrations are by Kayeri Akweks, an artist and illustrator how is a member of the Upper Mohawk tribe in Ontario, Canada. Both the stories and the games have illustrations! Here are girls playing ring and pin, and there are instructions how to make this game using a coat hanger:

And here is Coyote playing kesitce, the Navajo moccasin game:

To play this game, you just need a small object to hide, shoes to hide it in, and a guessing stick to point with. It sounds like fun!

You can find out more about James Bruchac at his website, and I'll be back with more from Joseph Bruchac tomorrow. For now, enjoy both the games and stories, all just a click away at the Internet Archive!

by James Bruchac

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