Research Progress Report: American Native Sports and the Mainstream Games

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Boston College
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This research progress report is a discussion of the research on American Native Sports and the mainstream games that they engaged in. Native Americans were a good example when it came to inventing and playing games. Many games came about as a result of their associations with their gods. The games were played about to bring about rain, during harvesting, when someone in their area was sick, to cast out evil spirits or to please the gods (Fletcher, 2003). In spite of the fact that sports usually are played for no particular reason but to have fun in the spirit of competition, Native American games also took part in imparting life lessons to youngsters by helping them create abilities that would benefit them once they were grown-ups. All in all, young men and young ladies played separately, but they would often play similar games when the rules were followed. Some games were considered a taboo to ladies, especially the ones which could disturb the defensive powers that chased away the spirits (Hoxie, Frederick & JoAllyn, 1996).

In some cases, Young girls would engage in games such as "house," some of the time with small tipis or igloos. They likewise had dolls produced using different materials, for example, wood, grasses, corn husks, skin, or bone. Doll play helped young ladies take in childcare skills (Bruchac, Akweks and Bruchac, 2000). Native Americans had a culture of honoring gifted competitors in the same manner as which they regarded great warriors. Many games played by men and young men served to give them skills necessary for fighting as well as hunting. These engagements tried a kid's expertise, mastery, deftness, quality, and stamina. The Cherokee Indians alluded to stickball games as "the younger sibling of war." Children also played the games that were played by adults; the grown-ups encouraged it as it was necessary for facilitating the continuity of the gaming culture (Hoxie, Frederick & JoAllyn, 1996). This culture greatly helped shape how todays games and sports competitions are carried out.

The native Americans also enjoyed races, tug-of-war, and other simple games that kept them lively. Native American games fall into two major categories: Based on luck, the result of which relies upon chance, and skilled games. Games of chance are played with sticks, dice, and guessing. The skilled games require physical as well as mental prowess. Many of the games were not developed, games were even played with balls made of skins loaded down with leaves or fur. Since Native American games enhanced abilities, the grownups would establish games the young lads had to play to better themselves. These skills would help Native American individuals of back then to become better and pass on these skills to the next generations.

Sports in America started as pre-present day participatory challenges of might, expertise, and speed that were disorderly neighborhood rivalries with fundamental principles. Notwithstanding, as the country developed, games turned out to be organized with formalized principles and national contests. The games finally ended up being avenues to make cash with great athletes showcasing their skills to paying onlookers. This greatly shows how modern day sports have been set up.

Mainstream games played among the Native Americans included Lacrosse, rezball, Shinny ball, Slahal, snow snake, alligator wrestling, hoop and pole, pasuckuakohowog and Kah. I have added the controversy that came about with Native American Mascots and famous Native American like John Thorpe who scaled the height of Sports.



Bowen, R. (2009). The Native Americans. Philadelphia [Pa.]: Mason Crest Publishers.

Bruchac, J., Akweks K. (2000). Native American games and stories. Golden, Colo: Fulcrum.

Coombs, D. and Batchelor, B. (2013). American history through American sports. Santa Barbara: Prager.

Davis, Laurel R., and Othello Harris. "Race and ethnicity in US sports media." Media Sport (1998): 154-169.

Davis, l. (1993). Protest Against the Use of Native American Mascots: a Challenge to Traditional American Identity. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 17(1), pp.9-22.

Eisen, G. and Wiggins, D. (1995). Ethnicity and sport in North American history and culture. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Fletcher, A. (2003). Indian games and dances with native songs. Holicong, PA: Wildside Press.

Salamone, F. (2013). Native American identity in sports. New Rochelle, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, p.115.

Hoxie, Frederick E., and JoAllyn Archambault. Encyclopedia of North American Indians. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Vennum, Thomas. American Indian Lacrosse: Little brother of war. JHU Press, 2007.


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