When I was among the Chipewyan Indians of Great Slave Lake, in 1907,1 made myself popular with the young men, as well as boys, by teaching them the old game of hat-ball or Buffalo Chips.

The players (about a dozen) put their hats in a row near a house, fence, or log (hollows up) A dead-line is drawn 10 feet from the hats; all must stand outside of that. The one who is "it" begins by throwing a soft ball into one of the hats. If he misses the hat, a chip is put into his own, and he tries over. As soon as he drops the ball into a hat, the owner runs to get the ball; all the rest run away. The owner must not follow beyond the dead-line, but must throw the ball at some one. If he hits him, a chip goes into that person's hat; if not, a chip goes into his own.

As soon as some one has 5 chips he is the Buffalo; he wins the booby prize: that is, he must hold his hand out steady against the wall, and each player has 5 shots at it with the ball, as he stands on the dead-line.

Rat On His Lodge

Each player has a large, smooth, roundish stone, about 4 or 5 inches through. This is his rat. He keeps it permanently.

The lodge is any low boulder, block, stump, bump, or hillock on level ground. A dead-line is drawn through the lodge and another parallel, 15 feet away, for a firing line.

The fellow who is "it," or "keeper," perches his rat on the lodge. The others stand at the firing-line and throw their rats at his. They must not pick them up or touch them with their hands when they are beyond the deadline. If one does, then the keeper can tag him (unless he reaches the firing-line), and send him to do duty as keeper at the rock.

But they can coax their rats with their feet, up to the dead-line, not beyond, then watch for a chance to dodge back to the firing-line, where they are safe at all times.

If the rat is knocked off by any one in fair firing, the keeper is powerless till he has replaced it. Meantime, most of the players have secured their rats and got back safe to the firing-line.

By using bean bags or sandbags instead of stones this may be made an indoor game.

Watching By The Trail

This is a game we often play in the train, to pass the time pleasantly.

Sometimes one party takes the right side of the road with the windows there, and the other the left. Sometimes all players sit on the same side.

The game is, whoever is first to see certain things agreed on scores so many points. Thus:

A crow or a cow counts..... 1

A horse.......... 2

A sheep.......... 3

A goat.......... 4

A cat .......... 5

A hawk.......... 6

An owl.......... 7

The winner is the one who first gets 25 or 50 points, as agreed.

When aroot, one naturally takes other things for points, as certain trees, flowers, etc.


A good trailing stunt to develop alertness and observation is managed thus: One fellow wearing the tracking irons is deer. He is given 100 beans, 30 slices of potato and 10 minutes start. He has to lay a track, as crooked as he pleases, dropping a bean every 3 or 4 yards and a slice of potato every 20. After ten minutes' run the deer has to hide.

The trailers follow him, picking up the beans and potato slices. Each bean counts 1 point, each slice of potato 2. The one who finds the deer scores 10 for it.

Apache Relay Race

One band is pitted against another, to see who can carry a message and bring a reply in shortest time, by means of relays of runners. One mile is far enough for an ordinary race. This divides up even 220 yards to each of eight runners. The band is taken out by the Chief, who drops scouts at convenient distances, where they await the arrival of the other runner, and at once take the letter on to the next, and there await the return letter.

A good band of 8 can carry a letter a mile and bring the answer in about 9 minutes.

The Weasel In The Wood

The old French Song game much like our game of "Button,Button," orthe Indian Moccasin game, is given in the Section on Songs, etc.

Throwing The Spear

This was popular among Indians until the rifle made the spear of little use.

The spear is of a straight, slender staff of ash or hickory, about 7 feet long. It should have a steel point, the weight should be chiefly in the head end; that is, the balancing point should be 2 feet from the head. A tuft of colored feathers or hair near the light end helps the spear to fly straight, and is a distinctive ornament.

The target should be a burlap sack stuffed tight with straw and ranged as for archery. Make it big, 6 feet square, if possible, and always begin so close to it that you at least hit the sack nearly every time. Afterward you can work off to the correct range of 30 feet.

Water Boiling Contest

Given a hatchet and knife, 1 match, a 2-quart pail, 7 inches or less in diameter, one quart of water and a block of soft wood about 2 feet long and 5 or 6 inches through.

Any one should have the water boiling in 10 minutes. The record is said to be 7.59

First cut plenty of wood. Spend three minutes on it. Support your pail on four pegs driven in the ground. If water is handy dip the pegs in it before placing.

The water must be jumping and bubbling all over the surface or it is not boiling.

If the first match goes out, contestants are usually allowed a second, but are penalized by having 2 minutes added to their time.