The first International Native Games Conference was held at Salish Kootenai College (SKC, Pablo, MT) this past summer. Speakers discussed three broad themes: The purpose and value of traditional Indian games in developing the spirit, body, and mind; the role that historic trauma has played on the body and soul; and the neuroscience of play and the role that play has on healing the body and soul.
Dr. Gregory Cajete (Santa Clara Pueblo) of the University of New Mexico led discussions on the first theme, while Dr. Billie Jo Kipp (Blackfeet) of Blackfeet Community College (Browning, MT) and Dr. Gyda Swanny (Salish) of the University of Montana focused on the second theme. Dr. Sergio Pellis of the University of Lethbridge and Dr. Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University presented on the neuroscience of play.
Years spent revitalizing Native games has contributed to knowledge of Indian cultures and their survival in the Americas. In Montana, the International Traditional Games Society has worked with traditionalists in this endeavor. The recovery has resulted in the preservation of spiritual ties to community, land, and place.
International Traditional Games Society was organized in 1997 by tribal college presidents and tribal culture directors with the mission of recovering and restoring the traditional games of our regional tribes, including those in Canada.