The Games We Play

This Day in History

How could what was purported to be a simple sporting event leave carnage and incalculable destruction in its wake?

The answer lay in the culmination of a storm that had been brewing within the hearts of the confederated tribe of Native Americans for some time. It was further fueled and made possible by the repeated denial of this pent up fervor by a young British Major.

These two circumstances led to the unthinkable on this day in 1763.

Sheer cunning, melded with the fiery hot rage of these Native Americans, led to this well-planned siege, leaving British troops dumbstruck and completely unprepared for what unfolded.




It all begin when British Major George Etherington was invited to watch a rousing game of baaga’adowe (much like modern day lacrosse). Never mind that prior to the match, a suspicious number of tomahawks had been traded nearby and were now possessed by the tribe, or that the French Canadians had repeatedly warned the Major of imminent rebellion. Etherington surely must have paused when he saw with his own eyes 500 warriors in the game, all with war-paint on their bodies.

Even the sharp warnings of French Canadian trader, Charles Langlade, fell on deaf ears. The experienced fur trapper knew too well the extreme violence likely soon to be unleashed by these frustrated warriors. He had borne witness to it throughout his entire life.

Yet to the unsuspecting Major, the game was just an entertaining sporting event, nothing more…

Even as he witnessed the oddity of Indian women wrapped up snuggly in heavy blankets on a sultry day in June, it never occurred to him that these clever “ladies” might be concealing the aforementioned weaponry under those cumbersome wrappings.

So, he cheerfully and naively waited for the game to commence. And then, with no apparent warning, all Hell broke loose!!!

As a piece of wood fashioned into a ball landed at the open entry of the fort, the “ladies in waiting” peeled off their outer garments and began dispensing tomahawks and knives to the Ojibwe “players” who had suddenly lost interest in the game with the Sauks and now had only a thirst for blood as they mercilessly massacred the British soldiers, almost none of whom were armed.

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