Traditional Ojibwe CHildren's Game
The Windigo Game or “cannibal game” was the most exciting game played by Ojibwe children.
This name implies all that is fear compelling, as the windigo were said to be terrible beings who were cannibals. If a stranger came to a lonely wigwam he was closely watched as he “might be a windigo,” and if he stayed all night someone sat up and watched him constantly. The children absorbed the idea and made it into a game.
Here’s how it was played: One child was chosen by drawing lots (or guessing numbers) to play the part of the windigo. Four sticks were prepared, one longer than the others. These were held in the hand with the tops even and offered for choice among the older children, the one who drew the longest stick acting the part of the windigo. If the child could, they would wear a mask, or would otherwise alter themselves (make faces, etc.) to give themselves a monstrous appearance.
The windigo would hide in a clump of bushes or somewhere else. The other children then formed in a long line, each holding the belt of the child in front of them. A large child was chosen to lead the others and he carried a club.
When they came near the windigo's hiding place the child playing windigo would rush out with fearful yells and wave their arms. The leader would have to play fight with them, and the younger children would be scared and scream to each other. Sometimes the windigo child would seize a child and pretended to eat it.
This game was a favorite among the children.
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