Last weekend, the Phoenix Indian Center in collaboration with the Native Wellness Institute hosted a fun day of intertribal games for youth at the Salt River Pima Maricopa Recreation Fields.
The day began with a warm-up of light exercises and dynamic stretching led by Thosh Collins (Akimel O'Odham) and an introduction by coordinator Robert Johnston (Muskogee Creek/Choctaw).
The kids then had the opportunity to try out the Creator's Game (LaCrosse) with a seasoned Navajo instructor who once played college LaCrosse for Princeton. Even though only one of the participants had ever played the game before, everybody enjoyed it and picked up on the game very quickly.
Set up next to the LaCrosse field with targets and a handful of small bows, the kids also had an opportunity to learn archery and basic bow skills from an avid local bow hunter, Amson Collins (Akimel O'Odham) with assistance from Thosh. They loved testing out the bow and learning some of its history and cultural significance. It was very exciting to see their eyes light up with every hit of the target. Shooting the bow and arrow requires hand-eye coordination skills, attention to detail, lessons in safety, patience, and practice. Learning this skill has the ability to initiate a sense of empowerment and pride in the child who is participating. The kids (some as young as 4 years old!) did an excellent job and showed their ability to connect with this longstanding athletic tradition of the people.
Overall, it was a successful day of learning and sharing new athletic skills, and the kids and instructors alike had a great time collaborating on the event. The intertribal games for native youth will persist once a month, for the next 3 months. For more information, contact them at 602-246-6768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org