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A stony relationship to American Indian games

In Sail Away or Singing Bird (can't remember which) there is a Native American game (so-mi) for gambling. My lower elementary kids love it.  I play with pom poms. Here's how it goes.

American Indian Game
1. Children sitting cross-legged in two lines, partners facing.
2. Each line is a team.
3. One team is the pom pom side, each person gets a pom pom
4. Hands behind back and the pom pom holder shuffled the pom pom between their hands until the song is over and they then hold both fists out to their partner.
5. If the partner guesses where the pom pom is, they get a point.
6. Odd-man out keeps score. Play up to a particular score for half of the class to get a privilege or role in the next game etc.
7. Give pom pom to your partner and repeat until you reach the agreed win score.

Here's the song: (spaces show where you should hold pitch twice as long.  Otherwise, straight beats sung)

s     s    m    s     m             s     m        s  m
hey ya         hey ya            hey ya        ah

England and Scotland

You don't find this concealing method of elimination in Britain, but...

New England

There is a method of choosing "it" whereby the "leader" holds a stone in one fist. Each child in turn has to guess the fist holding the stone. If they are right, they become the leader until all the children have been eliminated but one. This game seems to take the gambling nature of the Native American game and added the English "winner" goal. While Native games do sometimes have winners, the level of domination implied is never as stark as it is in English games. 


Anonymous said…
I was teaching music up in Northern Canada last year and the Cree children (and adults) would play this game as well. Instead of singing, a drum was used to set a beat and would stop after an undetermined set of time. I could never quite figure out the rules just by watching, so thank you for posting these instructions!
Suzanne G. said…
That's really neat! Please email me if you have any games and/or songs you're willing to share. Video would be amazing!

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