Indian Games, Dances & Native Songs - online book

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

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98               INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES
Ball Games
Indian ball games have one feature not found in the ball games as played by us; that is, with the Indian the ball is never pitched and tossed by hand during the play. At the opening of an Indian game the ball must be tossed by hand, but after that the ball is struck by a racket, stick or club and in that way sent from player to player and on to the goal. An exception to this gen­eral rule is found in an Omaha ball game given in the following pages.
The opening ceremony requires the ball to be handled and moved in a peculiar and ceremonial manner by the hand of the Umpire before he tosses it up for the be­ginning of the actual play.
The balls used by the Indians are of different materials — buckskin stuffed with hair; formed from roots, such as the wild-grape vine; wood; bladder netted with sinew; and in a few instances, of bone or stone.
Three ball games are here given.
Ball and Racket
Introductory Note. — The game in which the ball is struck with a racket is almost exclusively played by men, but there are tribes where it is played by women, and one tribe, cited by Dr. Culin, where it is played by men and women together. The form of ball game where the racket is used was less widely distributed over
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