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Jogo da Onça

Brazilian indigenous groups have greatly influenced Brazil’s cultural identity.

Different tribes have contributed to Brazilian culture through a series of unique foods, religions, languages, and traditions - and what better way to learn about different cultures than by playing their traditional games?

On October 2, students in Grade 3 learned more about the Bororo - a Brazilian indigenous group. Our Library Assistant, Ms. Nayara Rodrigues, who coordinated the project, welcomed students to a special storytelling session. She read tales and shared fascinating facts about the Bororo culture during students’ visit to the library.

Once Ms. Nayara had finished her storytelling, it was game time! Students formed a circle, and they played a traditional game played by the Bororo called “Jogo da Onça” - a version of the popular board game known in English as “Fox and Geese.”

You play the game on a cross-shaped board consisting of a single token that represents the “onça” - or the fox - in white and 14 black tokens that represent the “cães” - or the geese. The geese cannot capture the fox, but they can hem the fox in because of their superior numbers. The fox, on the other hand, has to catch the geese until it becomes impossible for them to trap him.

As students took turns playing the fox and then the geese, they were challenged to come up with strategies among their teammates to win the game.

The experience provided students an opportunity to learn about and reflect on different cultures through storytelling and play.

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