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Games of the Plains Tribes

Amusements and gambling are represented in collections by many curious devices. Adults rarely played for amusement, leaving such pastime to children; they themselves played for stakes. Most American games are more widely distributed than many other cultural traits; but a few seem almost entirely peculiar to the Plains. A game in which a forked anchor-like stick is thrown at a rolling ring was known to the Dakota, Omaha, and Pawnee. So far, it has not been reported from other tribes. Hoop Game Another game of limited distribution is the large hoop with a double pole, the two players endeavoring to place the poles so that when the hoop falls, it will make a count according to which of the four marks in the circumference are nearest a pole. This has been reported for the Arapaho, Dakota, and Omaha. Among the Dakota, this game seems to have been associated with magical ceremonies for ” calling the buffalo 7 and also played a part in the ghost dance movement. The Arapaho have also a sacred hoop game associated with the sun dance. Other forms of this game in which a single pole is used have been reported from almost every tribe in the Plains. It occurs also outside this area. Yet, in the Plains it takes special forms in different localities. Thus the Blackfoot and their neighbors used a very small spoked ring with an arrow for the pole, the Mandan used a small plain ring but with a very long pole, while the Comanche used a large life-preserver like hoop with a sectioned club for a pole. Netted Hoop Game...

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