Bundle & Pin Game
Game image compliments of Waaban Aki Crafting
|Native Americans have many uses for the cedar tree. Cedar twigs, greenery and all, have both sacred uses (as in smudging and purification rituals) as well as secular use. One such secular use for cedar twigs is the 'bundle and pin' game. This traditional Woodland Indian game is called "T'wis", by the Passamaquoddy Natives of Maine. The T'wis is an indoor game that is composed of an oblong piece of moose hide, about four inches in length, punctured with small holes, the center one being slightly larger than the others. This piece of hide is joined to a bundle of cedar (arbor vitae) twigs, tightly wound round with the cord. To this, by several inches of string, is attatched a sharp pointed stick, tied near the center and held between the thumb and forefinger like a pen.|
The game consists of giving the moosehide an upward toss and
at the same time piercing one of the holes with the pointed end
of the stick. The number of points necessary for the winning
is usually set at 100. Each player can hold the t'wis until he
misses a point.
There is a tradition that the
first t'wis-uk were made from that peculiar fungus which grows
out of the bark of trees and is known to the Passamaquoddy as
squaw-oc-l'moos wal-dee - "the swamp woman's dishes"
- Squaw-oc-moos is the black beast of the Indian legends and even
now children will not play with this fungus for fear of the swamp
woman. "One night", so the story runs, "during
a very important game of t'wis, on which everything available
had been wagered, both contestants fell asleep. The one having
the t'wis was carried by Med-o-lin many miles into the swamp.
When he awoke he saw Squaw-oc-moos eating out of the dishes and
a t'wis made of boughs in his hands." It seems quite impossible
to get a t'wis constructed from these wal-dee. The Indians will
describe such a t'wis and promise faithfully to make one, even
resenting any insinuations that they are afraid to do so. Their
promise, nevertheless, for whatever reason, remains unfulfilled.
Games & Toys Bibliography and Books to Buy On-Line
Games are available from Waaban Aki Crafting; Traditional Toys and Games
© 1994 - Tara Prindle.