Doubleball (Chippewa)


  • Introduction

This physically demanding game, which is best played in open spaces, is found on the Plains. Researchers located it, for instance, on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation with belongs to the Chippewa-Cree Tribe located in north central Montana, near the Canadian border.  People who live on this reservation include the descendants of Chief Little Shell (Chippewa), of Chief Little Bear’s Cree band (Imasees), and descdendants of the Louis Riel band (Métis).

Both men and women were (and still are) encouraged to play this game. As a safety measure, players can be required to wear safety glasses to protect their eyes from the sticks.

  • Game instructions

Doubleball (also called “Papaskawanag”) involves two balls stuffed with sand and buffalo hair that are connected by a leather thong perhaps one inch wide. The doubleball can be up to 20 inches in length. The doubleball is picked up and thrown using sticks. The Chippewa stick was about 26 inches long, and it was straight, without any bends.

The game involves two teams, each with its own goal, vying to get the doubleball to the goal.  Team members may pass the doubleball between themselves, but members of the other team will be trying to take it away.

The goal post is kept at about 10 feet above the ground, resting on tripod sticks at either end. The goals can be up to 160 feet from one another.

To score, the doubleball can go over the horizontal goal post (1 point), under the horizontal goal post (2 points), or hang on it (3 points). Obviously, it takes the greatest skill to get the double ball to hang over the pole.

  • Images of the game


Making the Doubleball. ©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Dr. Stephanie Wood

©Photo by Tom W. Smith