Games the Indians Played

Games the Indians Played coverThe Games the Indians Played

Submitter: This book uses outdated and culturally insensitive terms like “redskin.” It contains a decent amount of research from when the author was a teacher on a reservation. He interviewed many of the indigenous people there and I’m sure meant this to be a teaching tool about the culture, but it is a really old book that is now falling apart. Plus, it just gives off vibes of “oh, let’s look at the white man’s view of the savages’ primitive games.”

Holly: I’ve been learning a lot about collection diversity audits recently. While libraries may solely be looking for the percentage of materials about and by BIPOC, they need to use the opportunity to weed inappropriate materials like these. Please, please, don’t just count it as “diverse” and leave it in the collection! Look at the materials closely and audit the content while you’re at it.

Games Indians Played front flap

Games the Indians Played excerpt

Games the Indians Played end page


  1. This totally needs to be removed, and is surely offensive in many ways, but I would hope it finds its way into a special collection. Books with very specific information on such a specific topic are very hard to find, and for research purposes–or at least to offer a jumping-off point for independent research–this would be very useful, if only to grab the names of games and use that to find more information. I’m not at all saying for kids’ use. It would need to be used by someone who can put the information in context and know what’s offensive/outdated (even the past tense of the title is pretty offensive, as if native peoples of a continent have vanished…).

  2. “redman” right there on the front flap. I’d ask “what about the women?” but I’m afraid he’d use the S-word to describe them.

    Besides being racially insensitive, it’s a condition fail. I can almost hear the Scotch tape and the cover crackling. And what a weird juxtaposition of a drawing of a man with a fuzzy B&W photo slapped over him. That’s gonna bring the kids in, right?

  3. The Prince of Weld is so jarring: “Here, have an paraphrase from an even MORE culturally distant white person.” If he is of more relevance, they don’t explain it on those pages.

  4. The wrong in this book seems to start with the use of past tense in the title, as if the “Indians” aren’t around any more or don’t play these games any longer. Just last year the Iriquois lacrosse team was denied entry in the 2022 World Games, even though they invented lacrosse! The rationale being that they’re “not a sovereign nation.” Even though they are. Ireland graciously bowed out so the Iriquois can participate.

  5. Wow! I am surprised that a book published as recently as 1974 would still be referring
    to First Nations persons as ‘redmen’ at all!

  6. I hope a more recent book with similar content can be found. There are books and sites about Native Americans I miss because the information would still be useful for outdoor youth activities.

    1. And it goes without saying that such a book should be written by Native scholars, or at least with their input

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