Sports Popular with Plains Native People

In one ball game, there is a field 100 yards long with a goal at each end. Each player has a stick with a bend at the end. The object of the game is to get a ball, usually deerskin stuffed with hair, through a goal. The ball is tossed or carried by stick. Blocking and tripping are allowed. Sometimes the game is played on horseback. It is the favorite sport of young men. The Chippewa call this game wapaskawsn. It is, however, a lively game played by many other native people.

The moccasin game is the favorite sport of people of the Plains. Four pads are cut to resemble moccasins. The moccasin forms are then placed over four objects such as ticks or bones or beadwork. Three of the objects must be identical. The player must guess under which moccasin the fourth or the different object rests. A player gets one point for a correct guess; the opponent gets one point when the guess is wrong. After eleven chances, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton


Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change