Aboriginal Perspectives


Stick Game


Blackfoot Nation in Montana


The Blackfoot are typical of the Plains Indians in many aspects of their culture. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers, who lived in tepees. Their games were simplified for reasons of travel; the dice used were portable and the point system was memorized.

Original Materials:

4 bones (buffalo ribs); counting sticks

Adapted Materials:

4 popsicle sticks- dice; 12 toothpicks- counting sticks


2 players or teams


Decorate one side of the 4 sticks with red or black pens as shown.

stick game


To Play:

Hold the 4 stick dice in 1 hand and drop them to the ground. One player keeps tossing until they toss a 0 point value.

To Score:

Certain patterns correspond to point values. Players take the tally sticks first from the pile then from each other. The object is to earn all 12 tally sticks.

stick game


Math Content:

Probability, patterns and relations, data management.


Carlson L. (1994). More Than Moccasins, Chicago Il: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-213-4.

  stick game