Games of the North American Indians: Games of skill, Volume 2

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U of Nebraska Press, 1992 - Games - 846 pages
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Games figured prominently in the myths of North American Indian tribes, and also in their ceremonies for bringing rain and fertility and combating misfortune. In his classic study, originally published in 1907 as a report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Stewart Culin divided the games played by Indian men and women into two general types.

Volume 1 of this Bison Books edition takes up games of chance, involving guessing and throwing dice. Culin was able to show that the games of North American tribes were remarkably similar in method and purpose. He found that games using dice of various materials?wood, cane, bone, animal teeth, fruit stones?existed among 130 tribes belonging to 30 linguistic groups. The games are described in detail in this volume, and so are the popular guessing games drawing on sticks and wooden disks and involving hidden objects.

Volume 2 is just as absorbing in its elaboration of skills like archery and games like snow-snake, in which darts or javelins were hurled over snow or ice. Played throughout the continent north of Mexico were the hoop and pole game and its miniature, solitaire form called ring and pin, here illustrated. With equal authority Culin discusses ball games: racket, shinny, football, and hot ball. He includes accounts of "minor amusements": shuttlecock, tipcat, quoits, popgun, bean shooter, and cat's cradle.

Originally published in 1907, Stewart Culin's comprehensive work reveals a side of American Indian culture still only rarely shown. An experienced observer, Culin was curator of ethnology at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and the author of books about games in other cultures.

 

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Contents

ILLUSTRATIONS Volume
vii
Gaming arrows Kiowa Oklahoma 38S X Hidatsa playing hoop and pole North Dakota 511
ix
Cnoctaw ballplay dance Indian Territory
xvii
Choetaw ball play ball up Indian Territory 601
380
Games of dexterity
383
Arrow target Grosventres Montana
384
Arrow target Naraho Arizona 38i
391
Toy IKV and arrow Oglala Dakota South Dakota
392
Snowsnake Chippewa Minnesota
403
Snowdart Cree Assiniboia
404
Menominee holding snowsnake Wisconsin
405
Snowdarts Passamaquoddy Maine
406
Snowsnakes Penobscot Maine
407
Snowsnakes Sauk and Foxes Iowa 40
408
Game dart Takulli British Columbia
409
Minor amusements
715

Game of the arrow Mandan North Dakota
394
Method of holding arrows in playing showiiiltowe Zuni New Mexico
397
Lapochiwe Zuni New Mexico
398
Target and bow and arrows MM New Mexico
400
Snowsnake Chippewa Minnesota 102
401
Snowsnakes Chippewa Minnesota
402
Unclassified games
781
Games derived from Europeans
789
Running races
803
Summary of conclusions
809
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About the author (1992)

Dennis Tedlock, in an eloquent introduction, discusses his own experience of Indian games, showing that those described by Culin are still played today. A professor of English at State University of New York at Buffalo, Tedlock is the translator of Finding the Center: Narrative Poetry of the Zuni Indians, also a Bison Book.

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