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Planning & Playing Kyin-naal del’ Tournaments

6/1/17 in Round Valley Tribes, CA under Dreamstarter






Round Valley Tribes, CA

My 2016 Running Strong Dreamstarter project is to teach young boys how to play the traditional Wailaki stick game.  Through my project, we have sponsored trainings and tournaments.

So far we have sponsored two tournaments.  It’s important for the boys who practice the stick game to get a chance to play in a “real” game.  

Tournaments have traditionally been the opportunity for players to compete and for the community to see the skills the boys have learned.  Usually, other tribes are invited, but we haven’t been able to get another tribe to come to Round Valley yet so we have our own boys play each other, making sure teams are equally chosen in regards to experience, skill level, and athleticism. 

The first tournament was on May 6, 2016 at Round Valley High School’s Big Time.  We chose teams by grade levels and who signed up to play.  Not all players who train play in tournaments.  It’s much harder to play in front of a crowd then it is to train with your buddies. 

In order to create pride around playing, we designed a t-shirt and gave each participant a shirt. 

We had a good crowd of people because it was the Big Time and because several of our trainers and our mentor went on the local radio station, KYBU 96.9, and talked about the stick game and Big Time tournament.  We were happy with the community turn out because it demonstrated to us that the community supported the work we were doing. 





At each game there are three coaches on the field, running with a pair of players to make sure the rules are being followed, to aid and retrieve sticks, and to insure safety. 

Our trainers not only played in their own game, but they also served as coaches for all the other games.  We used the same Kyin-naal-del’ logo for our “Trainer’s shirts” so our trainers could be seen easily and not mistaken for a player. 




Here are the fourth grade players.
Here are the fifth grade players.

Here are the 6th grade players. 
Here are the 7th – High School players.

We scheduled our 2nd tournament during Indian Days week in September, inviting the Yurok stick game players from Klamath that we met in the summer, but they couldn’t attend and we postponed our tourney until October, hoping they could attend, but it still didn’t work out for them.  We had our 2nd tournament in the afternoon on October 7, 2016.  Our local boys were very anxious to play each other after training twice in September,

We used the same logo for a t-shirt as our 1st tourney, but changed the t-shirt color to red.  In our 2nd tourney we gave out both t-shirts and sweatshirts.  The sweatshirts were for the “most valuable” players and for the trainers.  We also had medals made for the winning teams.  Our trainers used the Dreamstarter shirts to coach in. 

Here are the medals created for our tournaments.


In July, our High School team also went to a tournament in Klamath, CA put on by the Yurok Tribe.  We were nervous about playing people we didn’t know and in a place we hadn’t been before.  When we met the Yurok players, everyone was very nice and welcoming.  We have since invited the Yurok teams to come to Round Valley to play.   They weren’t able to make our fall tournament, but we will keep trying to get their teams to come play in Covelo.

At that tournament, we won championship for our age group!  We were VERY excited and proud of our progress as a team.  Here is a picture of us with our 1st place medals; this is where we got the idea of giving out medals at tournaments.  One of our players, Cameron Peters, received most valuable and a sweatshirt as his prize.  We also liked the idea of giving out a most valuable player award with a sweatshirt and so at our October tournament, we used this idea!  I think it is valuable to learn from other tribes.

In August, we also went to the Klamath Salmon Festival for another Yurok Stick Game tournament.  We didn’t win this tournament, but we gained more experience and continued to develop friendships with the Yurok players.

Read more about Blaze and Kyin-naal del'

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