Play Snow Snakes -A Traditional Native American Winter Game @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Do you like to play with snakes? If you do, don’t miss the snow snake workshop on Saturday, January 29 at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m. at the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington. At this special Native American workshop, you will make a “snow snake” and use it to play a traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) winter game.

Snow snakes are hand-made from a flattened piece of wood with a notch at one end that makes them easy to throw. Some sticks are carved in intricate patterns that resemble a snake and then coated with wax. Participants in this workshop will learn how to make their very own snow snake with Susan Scherf, an educator at the Institute and a woodcrafter. This workshop includes materials and wood-burning kits. Participants are welcome to bring their own whittling knife if they have one although it is not required.

The competitive winter game of snow snake is still played today in many Native American Communities. The object of the game is for players to see how far they can slide a snake across the snow, usually in a trough that has been built up and then grooved by dragging a log along its length. Players toss the snake, similar to a javelin thrower onto the track. The challenge is to throw the snake with just enough force to make it slide a long distance without using so much force that it jumps the track. A highlight of this workshop, weather permitting, is to go outside and try out your snow snake in a friendly competition.

Space per session is limited and pre-registration is required. The price of participation including materials is $20 for non-members and $10 for members. For more information call 860-868-0518, email or click here to register online.

For the video on the snow snake check out

About Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

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