cup and pin game, pin and boughs game - tapaikan

Innu men, women and children played games after feasts, and on other occasions after the furs had been cleaned, the firewood chopped, and other tasks were completed for the day. Some of these games are indigenous to the Innu, while others were borrowed from Europeans. Atinakan (checkers), matsheshu atinakan (probably Fox and Geese), kamamiskutinikaniss (Sailor Crossing the Yardarm), Innu-kanusheun (a card game like 120), kukuetshiushkuiun (pulling game), kamatauapitshenitshanut / uetapekanikan (cat's cradle) and tapaikan (cup and pin game) are some examples of games played by the Innu before television, Nintendo, bingo, and other distractions displaced them as pastimes.

Tapaikan is a very old game that was once popular among the Innu everywhere throughout the Quebec-Labrador peninsula. The purpose of the game is to catch various parts of the hollow, caribou foot bones (phalanges) on the end of a bone pin. The more phalanges one gets on the pin, the more points are gained. The game used to be played by individual players or by teams. One version of the game, which is less difficult to play, consists of a pin and a small bundle of spruce branches.

 Listen to Natuashish Elder, Matinen (Rich) Katshinak talk about how to make tapaikan

 Listen to Elder Munik (Gregoire) Rich describe tapaikan

 Listen to Matinen (Rich) Katshinak talk about the spruce bough version of tapaikan

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