Topic: Games

Micmac Customs And Traditions

My information about the customs and traditions of the Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia has been derived almost entirely from Abram and Newell Glode, the first a man of seventy-three years, the latter somewhat younger and of exceptionally pure blood for a time when none are wholly so. These two Indians have justly achieved a reputation among their tribe for intelligence and knowledge of their native lore. During the many days I have spent with them at Digby and elsewhere I have invariably found them as eager and interested in being questioned as I was in catechizing them. However,...

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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...

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Yuchi Games

With the Yuchi, all games have a strong ceremonial aspect. They are, most of them, of a public character, taking place in the allotted playground adjacent to the public square. The afternoon of the second day of the annual festival is the usual time for playing them ceremonially. Many of the games are accompanied by ritual, more especially the ball game. Stakes are wagered in nearly all games by both players and spectators. Like most Indian games the betting is a very important item of consideration. The first to call for description is the ball game played with two...

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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...

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Discoidal Stones

Games of various character have attracted the Indian tribes from the earliest notices we have of them. Some of these games are of a domestic character, or such as are usually played in the wigwam or domicile. Of this kind are the game of hunting the moccasin, the game of the bowl, and sundry minor games known to the Algonquins, the Cherokees, and other tribes. But by far the greater number of games practiced by the North American Indians are of an athletic character, and are designed to nourish and promote activity of limb, and manual expertness in the...

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Choctaw Ball Games

The border Indians are all fond of games; many of them have learned to play cards and to gamble with considerable skill; but with the most of the tribes, and especially the Choctaws, ball-playing is the favorite amusement. They have an irresistible passion for such sports and pastimes. Their game was quite similar to that known among our lads as “Bandy.” They did not hurl the ball with the naked hand, but each had a cudgel, about three feet long, at the end of which there was a net-work or basket made to resemble the shape of a man’s hand; with that bandy club they would catch and hurl the ball with astonishing force and precision. Every Indian manifested a deep interest in the play; old, middle-aged, and young of both sexes, would invariably attend as spectators, if not as participants in the amusement. Such was the eagerness to be present on every occasion that all other business matters must be suspended and every interest stand in abeyance, and nothing must be permitted to come in conflict with the ball-play. We recently had an illustration of this truth. The Rev. Mr. Steele had published that a camp meeting would be held at the base of the Sugar-Loaf Mountain, near to the residence of Colonel Thomson M’Kenny, to commence on the eighteenth day of August. The meeting had been published...

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Choctaw Games

The Choctaw appear to have had rather few games of chance. Among those described to the writer is one that closely resembles the moccasin game of the Algonquian and other widely separated tribes in America. This is said to have been played by the “old people” and is probably one of the oldest Choctaw games. It was described thus: Lake’lomi Twelve men were required in playing this game. They knelt or sat on the ground in two rows, or sides,” facing each other, six players in each row. Seven hats were placed on the ground in a line between the two rows of players. The player who was to start the game and who was always at one end of his row held in one hand a small stone or shot. With his other hand he raised all the hats in order, placing under one of these the stone or shot; during the entire performance he sang a particular song. After the stone or shot had been placed, the player sitting opposite him guessed under which hat it lay. If he did not succeed in three guesses, the leader removed the object and again hid it under either the same or another hat. Then the second player on the opposite side had three guesses. If a player guessed under which hat the object was hidden, he in turn became...

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Indian Games

Indian games may be divided into two general classes: games of chance and games of dexterity. Games of pure skill and calculation, such as chess, are entirely absent. The games of chance fall into one of two categories: Games in which implements corresponding with dice are thrown at random to determine a number or numbers, the counts being kept by means of sticks, pebbles, etc., or upon an abacus or counting board or circuit; Games in which one or more of the players guess in which of two or more places an odd or particularly marked counter is concealed, success or failure resulting in the gain or loss of counters. The games of dexterity may be designated as: Archery in its various modifications. A game of sliding javelins or darts upon the hard ground or ice. A game of shooting at a moving target consisting of a netted hoop or a ring. The game of ball in several highly specialized forms. The racing games, more or less interrelated and complicated with the ball games. In addition, there is a sub-class, related to the game of shooting at the moving target, of which it is a miniature form, corresponding with the European game of cup-and-ball. Games of all the classes designated are found among all the Indian tribes of North America, and constitute the games, par excellence, of the Indians....

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