Default Header Image

lahal

Lahal is a traditional game of First Nations people. The game pieces consist of 11-13 sticks and 4 bones. The sticks are also painted in different colors for different reasons and are made of different types of wood. The bone game pieces are made of antlers or bone. Two teams play consisting of one to many players. Five players to a team is ideal. The objective of the game is to win sticks by guessing where the unmarked bones are in the opposing teams hands. Drumming and singing with your team helps distract the opposing team. The team that gets all the game sticks wins the game.

A lahal game set owned by Terry Deneault
The bone game pieces that are used in lahal

The purpose of playing is to bring people together or to bring back happiness and spirits to lift the hearts of others. The game is played at many occasions, celebrations, and gatherings.

Rules and methods have changed a lot throughout the years. The games in the past would last many days sometimes. Nowadays games usually take place within an evening or occasionally will last a whole day. As well in the past drums were rarely used. Instead a long board and sticks were used to keep a beat to sing to. It was considered special if you had a drum in the past to play. In the historic times the people would come in on horseback and gather at someone’s homestead to play in the evenings where a challenge happens to another person or team. Rattles, horns, drums, and such things are used in the present day. Different sizes of drums would produce different sounds. Songs that are sung pertained to the bands, or family, and some are borrowed from another band by way of asking.

Drum with antler handle used to play lahal

Due to the historic suppression of cultural ways the game of Lahal was almost lost. It has since been restored due to cultural prominence.

The game always starts with an open traditional game where the men play against the women. The prizes played for could be anything that is of special value or many different traditional items. Examples of such things could be purses, game sets, scarves, etc. In the historic times prizes could be valuables such as horses, and trade items. This differs quite a bit from the present day prizes, which include money, televisions, and many modern accoutrements.

Click here to view the lahal video (1.1mb). Windows Media Player is needed to view, downloadable at www.microsoft.com

Lahal information provided by Councilor Terry Deneault

Youth Lahal 2007

View the Youth Lahal Video 1 (2mb) and Video 2 (1.9mb)

Local RCMP Join in the Lahal
Covering the Bones
Testing the Drum

Winter Lahal 2006

Darrel Draney and Reakwon Simon playing lahal
Skeetchestn team playing lahal
Left to Right: Elders Christine and Florence Simon
Elder Christine Simon playing lahal with drum
Large lahal game at Skeetchesn Gymnasium
Left to Right: Barb Deneault, Darrel Draney, Terry Deneault
Young mens team playing lahal
Samantha Draney and Lizzy Ignace playing lahal
Moses Zabotel-Gott at the Skeetchestn lahal games
A lahal game set with the pictures of eagles and feathers and game pieces
A lahal game set made in austria for demonstration
Beaded lahal set won in a lahal game by terry Deneault.