6th Annual Cecehia Ha Cicwidag Features Toka Debut of Peyton Z. Reina

Celebrating their toka win, the Wipismel (Hummingbirds) were awarded a championship trophy and commemorative t-shirts to celebrate their victory. Photo courtesy of KiAna Reina.

“Peyton has always seen her aunties, family and friends play toka, whether it was at practice, a demonstration or in tournament. So, it was no surprise to me that she would soon start playing on her own,” said KiAna Reina, auntie of Peyton Z. Reina. 

Peyton made her official toka debut on this year’s Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community toka team during the sixth annual Cecehia Ha Cicwidag at the Verna N. Enos toka field in Sells on February 6. 

“When she told us she was going to be playing, she was so excited she made three u’usagas(game sticks),” said Kiana Reina. During the toka games, Peyton went undefeated. “They played four matches, having to win the best out of seven games,” she added. Her team’s name was Wipismel, meaning “hummingbird.” 

Peyton’s proud mother, Bridget Leonard, added, “Her friend Amaya kept asking her to go to practice with her and try it. So, she went with her friend and she just started playing.” 

Picking up the game quite quickly, Peyton immediately shined and was a welcome addition to the team. “She was scared at first to get hit, but her friend kept telling her, ‘You’ll be okay. It will hurt for a bit, but you just have to keep pushing.’ Afterwards, Peyton kept asking to keep going back to practices,” Leonard said. 

Assigned the role of blocker, Peyton Reina’s role is to block the other team’s players from going past her. She also plays in the middle, and in that position she helps to move the o’da (game piece) to her team’s scoring side of the field. 

During the tournament, Peyton Reina gave it her all and competed against some of the best toka players around from the Tohono O’odham Nation, Gila River Indian Community, Ak-Chin Indian Community and more. 

In the championship game, she nearly ran out of energy but tapped into her inner strength and finished the game, playing strong and never giving up.

“When it was over, she cried and was happy she could help her team win,” said Kiana Reina. She added, “I am so proud of her for wanting to learn and play the traditional game that has been played for centuries. I hope this tournament inspires her to keep learning more of these traditional teachings.”

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