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Blackfoot Amusements and Games

In former times, there was a good deal of merriment in the Blackfoot camps. We have just characterized some of the jokes often perpetrated and may mention others strictly for amusement. One Piegan band was noted for its pranks. One of their favorites was to annoy visitors by a mock family row. The host would begin a quarrel with his wife and then to fight. The neighbors would rush in and with mock indignation take the woman’s part. The result was a general melee in which they took care to fall upon the guest and wallow him about as much as possible without serious injury. As a rule, jokes were between band and band. Thus it is related that one time a band drove off the horses of another and herded them in the brush near by. Then they innocently offered to join the war party for pursuit. When all was ready they suggested that they look in the brush as the horses might have been overlooked. Again, a band dressed one of their men in white man’s clothes and painted his face black. Then while his confederates were at the camp of the victim band he came up and in plain view caught two horses, going off slowly. The confederates were careful to call attention to it. Some young men pursued but when they were near the man took aim at them. So they hesitated. Finally, the thief disappeared over a hill. Then he whipped up, returned by another route and left the horses in their places again to the confusion of the pursuing party on their return....

Social Life of the Blackfoot Indians

In this third paper on the ethnology of the Blackfoot Indians, Clark Wissler examines the social culture of the Blackfoot Indians, particularly the Piegan division in Montana. Complete with pictures where appropriate this paper approaches the social life of Blackfoot Indians in a fair and unpretentious manner. Discussions concern marriage, child rearing, naming, games and amusements, government of tribe, picture writing, and other activities specific to the social organization of the Blackfoot Indians. While Clark relied heavily on the first hand knowledge of a Piegan Indian, he supplemented that information with known facts from a variety of sources.

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