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Cordage
And Games

Life for Idaho's Native Peoples was not only filled with work,
there was also time for playing games.


Cordage made many games possible because it was flexible. Tops, bullroarers, buzzers and string games were all made and played using cordage.


The Shoshoni and Bannock Peoples made spinning tops from wood and stone. The tops were spun with the fingers, a stick, or with a piece of cordage string.

Buzzers were a favorite children's toy. Made with a deer's patella (the knee cap), or a deer's foot bone, the buzzers were twirled on a length of cordage. Adults would also use buzzers, if they were born in summer, to cause a warm wind to blow in winter.


Buzzer Game

Image Used With
Permission of
Tara Prindle, NativeTech.org




Bullroarers, called dumbi wuki by the Shoshoni and tupi'akwin:u by the Bannock, were used as toys. Bullroarers had a handle of wood with cordage string and a feather attached to the end of the cordage. When twirled above the head, the bullroarer produced a whirring noise . Adults who had been born in summer, used the bullroarer to bring a warm wind.

String Games were especially fun, and were played by children and adults alike. The Shoshoni People living at Fort Hall called the string games ma'tangwuci.


Let's Learn About String Games