Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



pictograph divider


Inter-tribal Games Provide Fitness, Culture and Fun


by Betsy Fradd / Correspondent / Indian Country Today


credits: Angelo Baca teaches lacrosse to a group of children from Chief Leschi School as part of the 21st Century Afterschool program’s Inter-Tribal games. (Photo courtesy Betsy Fradd)


Angelo Baca teaches lacrosse to a group of children from Chief Leschi School as part of the 21st Century Afterschool program’s Inter-Tribal games. (Photo courtesy Betsy Fradd)PUYALLUP, Wash. - He’s part coach, mentor, friend and counselor. Angelo Baca knows what’s it’s like to grow up Native and wants to do what he can to help Chief Leschi kids grow strong and rich in the traditions of the past and be prepared for the future.

At 24, the University of Washington graduate is an accomplished filmmaker and nationally ranked cross-country runner. He’s the driving force behind the 21st Century Afterschool program’s Inter-tribal games and a firm believer in learning through play. "Most of the games are interactive, physical and communication-based with minimal equipment as would have been done in the old days in playing tribal games. Play teaches kids social and cultural cohesion like cooperation, goal setting, and equality/fair play," said Baca.

The games kids learn include Shinny, Athabaskan football and stickball and come from different regions such as the Northeast, Plains, Southwest, Alaskan/Canadian and Great Lakes. Today the group of 14 will learn lacrosse. Not only will they hear the technical aspects of the game but they’ll also discover it was a very important sport to the Iroquois and learn how it honored those ancestors.

"This history lesson teaches how the Indians see the world through their eyes. The kids should be proud of the extensive knowledge the games hold for them. Besides being fun, it’s enriching their whole mind, body and spirit," maintained Baca.

21st Century Afterschool Director Sunny Anderson said kids are eager to take part in the Inter-tribal games and look forward to spending their afternoons with Baca. "Different games let different kids be successful. Kids are learning that it is not necessarily the big and strong who win games, but that little, quick and smart students can have successful strategies too. They are learning that exercise is fun and important."

Baca makes sure the kids know his four rules before the lacrosse game begins: Listen, respect, participate and be safe. Those words, combined with encouraging coaching tips and woven with Northeastern Indian legends make the time on the playing field physically challenging, educational and engaging. Ten year old Nick Nelson enjoys the games and his Navajo teacher. "He’s fun. The lacrosse is good. I like all the running. It gives us energy."

Baca wants the kids to be impacted on many levels. "I believe in a holistic approach and working together from the big person to the small person. If we are able to see ourselves as our own nations, then we must work from the inside out from the beginning to get where we want to go. If they see I am just like them, then we can enjoy our time together and learn something from each other."

Puyallup, WA Map

Maps by Travel

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!