Indian Games, Dances & Native Songs - online book

Native American Ceremonials, Sports, and Songs with Sheet Music, Lyrics & Commentary

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INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES                 81
play. The following form of this game is the way it was formerly played among the Nez Perce Indians of the State of Idaho. Lewis and Clark, who were the first white men to record their meeting with these Indians, mention this game, and Capt. Bonneville gives an account of it when he visited the tribe during the third decade of the last century.
Properties. — A bone or wooden bead about two inches in length and half an inch in thickness; thirty counting sticks (these are sometimes spoken of as arrows, and there are indications that they were once arrows — the arrows of the twin gods); a mat oblong in shape; two logs or pieces of board about the length of the mat, and as many sticks (to be used as drum-sticks) as players can sit on one side of the mat.
Directions. — The mat should be laid east and west, the logs or boards put on the north and south edges and the counting sticks placed in two piles of fifteen each on the ends of the mat. The players sit on the ground, a row on each side of the mat to the north and south. Lots are drawn to decide which side shall have the bead "in hand." The Leader and the singers must always stand behind the row of players who have the bead '' in hand." The opposite side must have the drum-sticks and beat on the log or board in time with the singers.
When the players are seated in two rows, one on each side of the mat, the Leader hands the bead to a player on the side that has drawn the right to have the bead "in hand," and then takes his place beside the singers, who stand behind that row, and starts the following song. All in that row join in the singing.
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