Lakota Electronic Texts
James. Owen Dorsey
1891. Games of Teton Dakota Children, The American Anthropologist, 4: 329-345.
Page 329 Games of Teton Dakota Children
The material for the present paper was found in the collection of texts written in the Teton dialect of the Dakota language by George Bushotter, a full-blood Dakota. This collection is now in the possession of the Bureau of Ethnology, in Washington. The Present writer is responsible for the arrangement of the information now given; besides its translation to English. Of those games for with children take part as well as their elders, there are five. Games played by none but children amount to fifty-seven, according to Bushotter.
Children of one sex seldom play with those of the other. Each game has its special season or seasons, and it is played at no other times of the year. Whenever Bushotter has named the season for a game, it will be mentioned in this paper.
None but girls can play Shkatapi chik'ala, Playing with small things, in which they imitate the actions of women, such as carrying dolls, women's work-bags, small tents, small tent-poles, wooden horses, etc., on their backs; they pitch tents, cook, nurse children, invite one another to feast, etc.
GAMES PLAYED BY GIRLS OR BOYS
One played in the spring is Wak'in'kichichiyapi, They make one another carry packs. Some boys pretend to be horses and carry packs; packs are also carried by the girls. The children of each sex imitate their elders. When they pretend to dance the sun dance, the boys cute holes in their shirts instead of their flesh, and through these holes are inserted the thongs with fasten them to the mock mo'-pole (?).
Hohotela, Swinging, is an autumnal game. The swing is attached to a leaning tree after the leaves have fallen. When four ropes are used, a blanket is laid on them, and several children sit of the blanket and are pushed forward. Those who push say, "Hohote. Hohote! Hohotela, hohotela!" as long as they push them. When two ropes are used, only one child at a time sits in the swing.
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Chab onakiskita, Trampling on the beaver, is played on pleasant evenings; therefore it is hardly a winter game. Each player gathers his blanket to a small roll around his neck. The one who acts the beaver reclines with his blanket around him. The rest form a circle around him, and as they pass around they sing thus: "Chab onaskita! Chab onaskita!" Whenever there is a break in the singing, the beaver rises suddenly and chases the others, returning to his former place if he fails to catch any one. Each one caught joins the beaver in the middle of the ring, where they recline with their heads covered. Girls sometimes play this game. Not a game of chance.
Coasting is indulged in by boys and girls, but not by youths old enough to go courting. They use different kinds of sleds.
The seasons for the following have not been ascertained:
1. Wi-okichichiyapi(?), Courting the women.-Played by boys and girls after sunset.
2. Hoshishipa.-Those who cannot keep from laughing are not desired in this game. Each player takes the back of the hand of the one next to him by pinching it, and thus there is formed a perpendicular pile of hands. The hands are swung back and forth while all repeat the word Hoshishipa. The first one who lets go is tickled till he laughs heartily. While each player holds the hand of his neighbor with a thumb and one finger, he used the other fingers for scratching that hand till it gets red. As they swing their hands they lower them till they get near the ground.
3. Wonape kh'akh'a.-When one sees that his comrades are dull he says, "My friends, I will wake you up."1 At once he throws an arrow, a stone, a handful of water, or some other thing into the air, making all scramble for it. Resorted to at times by the girls and young men.
4. Ghost game.-Played by boys and girls. One erects a lodge at a distance from the village, and at night he comes hooting like an owl and scratching on the exterior of the tent, where other children are seated. Sometimes the ghosts whiten their faces and paint their bodies at random. Others put red paint around their eyes. All this is at night, when their mothers are absent. Occasionally the children leave the village in order to play this game, going in a crowd to the designated place. Some ghosts whiten their bodies all over, painting themselves black between the ribs. When they do not whiten the whole face they cover the head with white paperPage 331 Games of Teton Dakota Children
in which they punch eye-holes, around which they make black rings. The one acting the ghost tickles any one whom he catches until the latter laughs very heartily.
5. Hide and seek.-Those who hide whistle when they are ready. Each one who is found becomes the servant of the Wawole or Seeker, and has to walk behind him while he seeks for another. The servants walk in single file behind their master, in the order of their capture till all have been found. Sometimes there are several seekers
6. Iyopani echun'pi, Jumping from a high object.-The players go to a steep bank, below which there is plenty of sand. They jump down one after another, each trying to jump further than the others. If they cannot find a suitable bank, they look for a stump or a leaning tree. When night comes their limbs pain them, so some proceed as follows: Mixing ashes with water, they paint an ant on each shin-bone, which insures a speedy recovery. Other sufferers have their limbs rubbed with grease, and so they go to bed, without having the grease rubbed off. When their parents remove the grease the pain disappears.
7. Wakan'shkatapi, Mystery game.-In this they imitate the deeds of the wakan men and women. A small lodge is set up at a distance from the village, and in it is made a mystery feast, after which the wakan persons sing and give medicine to a sick person. Some pretend to be gods (tawashichupi(?)); others claim to hear mysterious sounds; some have pebbles, which they say are gods or guardian spirits which aid them in various ways. Some pretend to conjure with cacti. Others give love medicines to boys who wish to gain the love of girls, or to girls who wish to administer them to boys.
8. Playing doctor.-This needs no explanation.
9. Taking captives from one another.-Played by many boys (or girls) at the middle of the village area. Two sides are formed. They approach, each party trying to capture their adversaries. The game continues till all of one side are captured. The captive must remain where his captors place him; he can take no further part in the game. Sometimes his garments are torn into rags, and he is subjected to other rough treatment. But all is done in sport, and no one gets angry. When a captive is released and ordered to go home; those on the other side, if boys say, "Gliye! gliye! gliye;" but if they are girls, they say, "Glana! glana! glana!"
10. String wrapped in and out among the fingers, etc.-Played for amusement, not for stakes. Sometimes one ties a cord in a
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strange manner, concealing the ends, which he requests some one else to discover. Occasionally he goes to a tree, bare of bark, or with ambush bark, and marks all over a part of it with many lines crossing at various angles, bidding the spectators find the ends of the lines. In winter one runs his finger along the surface of the snow, tracing a succession of turns hard to find. In summer this is done in the dust, or in the sad when they go swimming.
11. Shkatapl tan' ka, Playing with large objects differs from Going to make a grass lodges. In this respect, In the latter one none but boys take part, while in the former there are girls and boy, who imitate their elders in pitching tents, caring picks, attending to the children, hunting, etc.
12. Okichiyuit'a shni shkatapi, They do not touch one another. -The players stand in a circle, and they ask who shall be the first one to sit down? He who sits down last becomes "it" and must chase the others without touching them. Those whom he chases blow their breath at him and spit at him, saying that his skin shall become callous. When he is weary he returns to his place and stands there, while the others crowd around him and dare him to touch them. Bushotter says that when one has chased all the others, his place is taken by another, but the next is not very explicit.
13. Old Woman and her Dog, an evening game for boys and girls. The children of the camp assemble and one acts as the Old Woman, who says that she has a dog. The children come in a crowd to whip her dog. Each sits with his feet stretched out in front of him. The Old Woman approaches the one at the end of the row saying, " Grandchildren, what did you seek when you whipped my dog?" Then he tells why he did it, for should he or any other player fall to tell about his whipping the dog, the Old Woman must stand with both feet on his knees, pressing them hard against the ground. Thus does she punish those who whip the dog. She passes along the line of players and then retraces her steps, but this time she crawls over the knees of all the players till she reaches the first one. When she questions the children each gives her a reason for his conduct. He may say, "I beat him because he tore my blanket." The Old Women remarks, "You seem very fond of your blanket." Another may reply, "I beat him because he made me lose my moccasins." If so, she kicks him on the feet. She always makes a ridiculous or an abusive comment on each reply to her questions.Page 333 Games of Teton Dakota Children
14. Malo-kichiyapi; Gelssly, jean- game-One child, who acts the bear, digs a hole in the ground and reclines therein; The others crowd around the bear, one being selected as the leader on account of his bravery. The leader advances toward the bear, the followers stepping back a little now and then. The leader quickly seizes a lock of the bears' hair saying, "Tunkan'abila Maio, pehi' ya', O, grandfather grizzly bear, here is a hair of your head!" The bear springs up and chases the players as they flee in all directions. When he overtakes one he beats him or tickles him till he laughs heartfully. The bear never chases the children until one repeats the words, "maio bi' wa."' As soon as the captive stops laughing the bear desists from ticking them. The bear has some m=small sticks fastened to his fingers instead of claws. He goes to some plum trees and reclines beneath one of them. When the players go in a crowd to dislodge the fruit by shooting at it the bear jumps ups and chases them again.
Boys' Games Played in the Spring
1. Maka kichichunpi Use mud with one another - In the spring, when the ground is soft like putty, the game is played. Two sides are formed. Each boy presses a lump of mud around a stick, holding on to one end of the stick he rubs the other and forward flinging the mud through the air toward one of the opposing players. The hole made by the end of the stick allows the air to pass rapidly through the lump of mud, which makes first a moaning sound like that of a nail thrown into the air; then another sound (te-te-te-te-te) as if one blew through a tube. The players chase one another as they throw their mud balls.
2. Anakichitanpi, Running toward one another - Played in the spring, when the leaves have opened and the small birds are singing in the forest, the meadowlarks singing on the open prairie. The boys form two parties and play making war. They kill and scalp their opponents using wooden knives. As they scalp the shout, " A he" the cry of victory. Some are taken prisoners. Each one tells of his exploits. No one who is quick to take offense is allowed to join in the game.
3. Makakichiipi, They hit one another with earth i.e., with frozen earth - This is regarded as a very dangerous game. It is played in the early spring. The boys form two parties, and they chase one another, occasionally knocking down someone onPage 334 Games of Teton Dakota Children
Each side. Now and then the players stand on opposite sides of a canyon, armed with switches; the small end of each switch has a lump of frozen earth resembling the peculiar formation , kaghitame, found in the Bad Lands, pressed around it. He flings a stick forward and sends the lump of earth whizzing toward an opponent. Once upon a time when this game was played a brave youth advanced the front in the boasting manner and hastened toward the other party, relying on the shelter of his blanket; but there came a frozen clod, which struck the blanket and hit him squarely in the eye, felling him to the ground; so his comrades carried him home. Those on the other side yelled as they hit their mouths and started in pursuit of the others. Different ones have been blinded from playing this game; but boys do not hesitate to engage in it, as it hardens them and tests their courage.
4. Tahuka changleshka un pi Game with a raw-hide hoop - Occasionally in the early spring the people fear a freshet as they leave encamped on the level prairie away from the river. The men hunt the deer, and they return to camp. The boys take part of the hides and cut them into narrow strips, which they soak in water; they make a hoop of ash wood all over which they put strips of rawhide, which they interweave in such a way as to leave a hole in the middle, which is called "heart". The players form two sides of equal number, and tioshpaye or gems usually play against gems. The hoop is thrown by one of the players towards those on the other side. They are provided with sharp pointed sticks, each of which is forked at the small end. As the hoop rolls, they throw at it in order to thrust one of the sticks through the heart. When one hits the heart he keeps the hoop for his side, and he and his comrades chase their opponents, who flee with their blankets spread out behind them in order to deaden the force of any blow from a pursuer. When the pursuers overtake one of the fugitives they strike him with the hoop as hard as they can; then they abandon the pursuit and return to their former place, while the one hit with the hoop takes it and throws it, making it roll towards the players on the other side. As he rolls he says to them, " Ho, tatanka he gie, Ho, there is a buffalo returning to you". When the stick does not fall out of the heart, they say that the hoop belongs to the player that threw the stick. This is not a game of chance but of skill, which has been played by large boys since the olden times. Bushotter says that it is obsolescent.Page 335 Games of Teton Dakota Children
5. Maka ahun kawakan shkatapi, Sport with mud horses - In the spring boys get some mud from the bank of the stream and shape it into horns or some other quadrupeds. They play the game midway up the bank or in the forest. Sometimes they play before the images get dry. They make the images fight, and sometimes they make them dance. The players trade images or food. Now and then they make very good imitations of horses, which each owner keeps a long time. Sometimes they make buffalo. Whatever they make they use just as men use the real animals. When the make mud men they cause them to dance the sun-dance, and sometimes they make soldiers or policemen whom they cause to engage in a fight. When they become tired of playing they destroy their images, unless they are good imitations of the originals.
6. Flutes, etc.- When the leaves appear in the spring the boys go to the woods and make what they call ya pi za pi, something made to squeak by blowing with the mouth. They make flutes of the wazi washteauaa hu tanka (the large stock of the sweet smelling pine), of small ash trees, of cedar, and of bone. Sometimes a boy doubles up a leaf and blows through it. This leaf is called Yapizapi ha, bone which is made to squeak by blowing with the mouth.
7. Egg-hunting - Boys take bows and arrows and go toward the interior of the country in search of bird eggs. When the mother bird is on the nest she is sometimes shot and there are occasions when all the eggs in the next are broken. Sometimes they take all the eggs to the village. There the eggs are boiled, each boy eating those which he has brought home. When a boy hits a bird he makes a gash or notch with his knife on one end of his bow. Sometimes they boil the birds and eggs together in the same kettle.
8. Pezhi wokeya kakh ipi Going to make a grass ledge - Bushotter and others played this game on one occasion when they were riding far from camp. It was in the spring, and the boys gathered tall rushes which they made their horses eat. Thrice each day they took their horses to water. They made a grass lodge in which all took seats. Two boiled food for a feast; the others danced, and after the feast they had a horse race, putting up stakes for the winners. They engaged in other occupations; just as if they were men. They pretended to go on a war expedition, they hunted the buffalo and other animals, they danced the sun-dance; etc., etc. None but boys were present.Page 336 Games of Teton Dakota Children
9. Tamniyoklipeye kaghapi, Ball of mud made to float is thrown at. In the spring the boys go to the deep stream, where they make two hemispheres of mud, each having one side concave; having been pressed against the elbow for that purpose. They join the hemispheres together, making a hollow ball about 3 inches in diameter. This ball is thrown into the stream as a mark at which they hurl lumps of mud. Sometimes instead of throwing the mud from the hand they press it around one end of the stick, and when the stick is jerked forward, or flies the mud toward the ball. When the ball is hit it is burst open with a loud report.
Boys' Games Played in Summer
1. Magitakehlyapi, Goose and her children - This is very popular among the boys, but the mothers seek to break it up. However, the boys manage to slip off one by one and reach a stream where the game is to be played; while on they way to the stream they say one to another, " Let us see who shall be the first to reach there." One acts as the hunter, another as the goose, the rest being the ducks. They enter the water and swim about slapping the water with the palms of their hands. By and by, the hunter catches the boy who is goose, holding him by the hair of the head and saying, "Goose, how many children have you?" The goose gives the number, saying, "There are two," or "there are three." Whereupon the hunter pushes the goose's head under the water two or three times or oftener, or according to the number of children named in the goose's reply. Sometimes when the hunter is about to seize the goose the latter manages to escape to the shore, where the hunter can not catch him. Sometimes the, "ducks" dive; and other times they turn somersaults; alighting on the water in a bent attitude (i.e. either with the body perpendicular and the limbs horizontal or vice versa).
2. Throwing chewed leaves into the eyes - When the sun-dance is performed, the boys chew leaves and throw them into the eyes of the boys of another side, usually those of another ti-oshpaye or gens. Two sides are chosen by the players, gens playing against gens. They chew the leaves very fine and slippery. Some of the leaves are gray, others being green. They do not hurt anyone by so doing, and no one is offended. Sometimes they moisten deer or buffalo sinew by chewing it and hit one another across the face with the sinew.
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3. Hunting for young birds.
AUTUMNAL GAMES OF THE BOYS
1. Michapecha un'kich'opi(?), They wound one another with a grass which has a long sharp beard.-When this grass is mature, the boys collect on the prairie and form two sides for the game. They chase one another, trying to stick their adversaries with the michapecha on the neck, ankle-bones, or on another part of the body. The michapecha is arranged in bunches, with which the players hit a one another , not hesitating to give painful blows. The boys, for the most part, are stout-hearted(?), and show no signs of flinching. They pretend to be engaged in real battles. This is no game of chance, its sole design being so promote the spirit of bravery among the boys of the tribe.
2. Changleshka kakhwog'yapi(?), Hoop that is made to roll by the wind.-In the fall, when there are frequent breezes, the children play this game. They make a hoop, and when there is a wind they hold the hoop perpendicular for a short time and then let it go, the wind carrying it along. They chase it going very far before they catch it. The hoop is made thus: A stick is bent with the hands and pack-straps are fastened to it, crossing one another at various angles. A piece of calico or some other material is used in the middle of the hoop. He who catches the hoop brings it back to the place whence it started: Not a game of chance. 3. I'pahotun'pi un'pi, Pop-gun game.-In the fall, when the wind blows down the leaves, the boys make pop-guns of ash wood. They load them with bark they have chewed, or else with wild sage (Artemisia(?)), and they shoot at one another. The one hit suffers much pain.
4. Chun'kshila wanhih'kpe hu'pi(?), Game with bows and small arrows.-These arrows are made of green switches, before the leaves fall in the autumn. The end of each switch-arrow is carved to a point, and when it hits the bare skin it gives pain. The boys used to shoot these arrows at the dogs when they went for water.
5. Throwing fire at one another.-Played cool nights in autumn as well as in winter. When the snow is deep, the boys go to a sandy place and kindle a fire. Sides are chosen and a fight begins. Each player is armed with a firebrand. When they do not hit with the firebrands they hurl fire at one another. This is always playedPage 338 Games of Teton Dakota Children
at night. The next day many boys appear with burnt places on their bodies.
Boys' Winter Games
1. Pte bheto unpi Buffalo Horn Game - The boys assemble at the corral or some other place where the cattle have been altogethered and gather the horns which have been thrown away. They kindle a fire and scorch the horns noticing how far each horn has been burnt. That part of the horn is cut off as it is ? and they make the rest of the horn very smooth by rubbing. The cut off the small and pliable branches and twigs of a plum tree and insert the root into a hole in the horn, tightening it by driving in several small wedges around it. At the small end of the plum stock they fasten a feather by wrapping deer sinew around and around it. The ? is then thrown along the surface of the mow or it often goes under the surface disappearing and reappearing at short intervals. Sometimes they make it glide over the ice, stakes are frequently put up by or for players.
2. Chan kiwachipi, Spinning tops - Tops are made of ash, cedar, buffalo horn, red caillnite, or of stone. They put a scalp-lock on the upper surface ornamenting the latter with several colors of paint. They make the tops spin by twirling it with fingers or by whipping. When they make it spin steadily by whipping, they redden he scalp-lock and as it revolves very rapidly it seems to be driven into the ground. The game is played on the ice or snow, sometimes on ground which has been made firm and smooth by trampling. For the whip each player takes a tender switch, to the small end of which he fastens a lash of deer hide. He braids one half of the lash allowing the rest to hang loosely. They place the top in a row after putting up stakes and say, "Let us see who can make his top spin the longest distance."
3. Itazipa kasichan iyeya schum pi, Making the bow glide by throwing - They don't use real bows, but some type of wood made flat by cutting with an axe, with a horizontal curve at the lowest part and sharpened on the other side. At the head of the snake's head is usually made or else the head of some other object. At the other end the player grasps it and hurls it, making it glide rapidly over the snow or grass. This is a game of chance, but the "bows" are never staked as they are too expensive. It takes so long to make one that the owner does not sell it, preferring to keep it as long as possible.Page 339 Games of Teton Dakota Children
Games Played by Boys Alone No Season Specified
1. Tumbling and somersaults: Teton name, Tahrabija ichunpl They play ? out of joint - Each player tries to stand the longest with his head down. Sometimes they turn backwards as well as forwards.
2. Tachinghu yuha ahkatapi, Game with buffalo lights-The boys used to assemble at the place where they killed the buffalo, and one of them would take a strip of ? hide, to which the lights were attached, and drag the latter along the ground to serve as a mark for the test. As he went along, the others shot at the lights. Sometimes the boy stood still, grasping a long with fastened to the lights, which he swung round and round his head as he passed around the circle of players, who shot at the lights. Now and then when a boy sought to recover his arrow, the other boy would strike him on the head with the lights, covering him with blood after which he would release the player. Sometimes the boy holding the lights would break off all the arrows which were sticking therein, instead of allowing their owners to reclaim them.
3. Peshf yushil sklf kutepl, They hsoot at grass tied tightly in bunches. Played by the larger boys. Grass is wrapped around a piece of bark till it assumes an oval shape, both ends of the grass being secured together. The grass ball that is made is thrown into the air, and all shoot at it, trying to hit it before it reaches the ground; when it is hit the arrow generally penetrates the object very far, leaving only a small part of the feather end visible. The one who sends his arrow near the heart or mark on the grass ball has the right to toss the ball up into the air; but he who hits the heart on the ball throws the ball on the ground, and then throws it where he pleases, when all shoot at it. This game is generally played till dark, but there are no stakes put up.
4. How How - Boys assemble and stand in a circle. Each boy bends his fingers, connecting each hand with that of the next player on either side. Without breaking the ring all the players skip to the right ( a sort of dressing to the right) saying, "How, How". When they reach the appointed place they move around a circle, then they dress to the left, to the starting place, after which they move again in a circle. When they cease moving one of them moves within the ring, and he either stands or sits, according to the group stances. When the players stop dressing to the right or to the left they shout in unison, and the one in the ring hits the joined hands, one
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after another, trying to escape from the ring. When the players have dressed to the right and left and have went around the circle several times, they stand in silence; then the one in the ring paces in and out beneath the arches formed by the joined hands of his companions. Now and then an arch is brought down with a thump on the back of the stooping boy. When the boy has gone through all the arches he resumes his place in the ring, the others dancing around him with hands unclasped. Again do they clasp hands and order him to try his best to break through the ring. Should he succeed, he runs in a zigzag course away from the ramp. If any one of the players can grasp him as he breaks forth from the ring, the fugitive must carry that player away on his back, or the others will go to him and each will say, "I claim this marrow as my own." When the fugitive reaches "home" with the other boy on his back, the latter is called the chief, and is obliged to stand in the ring until he can carry of his successor in like manner.
5. Tokeshke un pi, How they are brought up - (Compare the English game of Follow my Leader) - Children choose their leader. One says, "I will be next to him." Another agrees to be the third in order. The others select their places, and all go in single file, passing various obstacles. Now and then one misses his footing, from which time he takes no further part in the game. They continue moving till the last player falls. Then they begin the game anew, the last one to fall becoming leader. Sometimes they encounter a fallen tree, which they climb over; sometimes they have to cross deep gulleys; now and then they have to jump or turn somersaults always doing what the leader does.
6. Unkchela kuiepi, Shooting at the cactus - This game is always played for amusement, never gain. On the appointed day the boys assemble on the prairie. One, who must be a swift runner, takes a cactus root, into which he thrusts a stick to serve as a handle. Grouping the cactus by this handle, he holds it aloft as he runs, and the others shoot at it. During this game the swift runner himself is regarded as having become the cactus; so when one of the boys hits the cactus, they say that it enrages the boy cactus, who thereupon chases the others. Whenever the boy cactus overtakes a player he sticks his cactus into him, turns around, and returns to his former place. Again the cactus is held aloft and they shoot at it as before, and again the players are chased. The game is kept up till the players wish to stop it.Page 341 Games of Teton Dakota Children
7. Throwing stones at one another - In this game there are two parties of players, standing on opposite sides of a gulley. Each boy uses a sling made by fastening a piece of deerskin to a braided pack-strap. They do not hunt one another, nor is there any chasing.
8. Ichipe echun pi, Making the wood jump by hurling it - When the boys play this game an imaginary stream is marked off on the ground; and the players stand on imaginary ice near the shore. They take turns at knocking at a piece of wood in order to send it up into the air. He who fails to send up the piece of wood loses his stakes, and he who succeeds wins the stakes. (Much of this text is not clear to the translator).
9. Ozeche katepi, Shooting at an arrow set up - Some boys back their favorites among the players by furnishing them with articles to be put down as stakes. One each side of a hill there is an arrow stacked upright in the ground to serve as a mark. The players on one side shoot at the arrow set up on the other; the players in the rear shoot at the arrow set up at the front. The nearer a player sends his arrow to the mark, the more it counts. Sometimes one of the arrows set up is withdrawn temporarily from its place to be used for shooting at the other arrow. Only arrows are staked.
10. Tachicha kichiyapi, Deer game- When the boys play this game each player bring his deer bones and some have ashes or pulverized earth in their closed hands. Some act as deer, the rest running around them. Those acting as deer use the deer bones and they are chased and scattered by those having the ashes or pulverized earth. The ashes and earth are used for " shooting?" at the deer, as well as for scattering on the ground. While they do not hit anyone with the ashes or earth, they say that the clouds of dust which arise therefrom are smoke from guns. Some boys act as fawns, others as does. They play this game on a hillside. Sometimes a "deer" is said to be wounded, and then the players pretend to slay the animal and to carry their hide to their bones; but the "hide" of the "deer" is a blanket.
11. They kick at one another. - Not a game of chance. An equal number of players are chosen for each side after the boys assemble in the middle of the camp circle. When some say " Chai" the others reply, "Come, let us play kick at one another." So they rash at one another and kick in every case with great force. They do not grasp their opponents at first, but when any player restsPage 342 Games of Teton Dakota Children
towards "home" and is overtaken by his pere?, he is pulled to the ground and with their knees they make his nose bleed, or else hey kick him around. This game is resorted to as a test of bravery. He who cries out from pain is deemed fit only for the society of girls.
12. Kichikshanpl, Wrestling- In this sport they never grip each other, but each seizes his opponent around the waist in trying to throw him down.
13. Owan'ka kichichipl, Snatching places from one another.(Pussy wants a corner!) - Played by boys in the evening. Stand in the ring, one in the middle. Those in the ring change places constantly, and the one in the middle tries to get the place of some one of them. When he succeeds, the person displaced must stand within the ring until he can displace some one else. Each player rolls up his blanket and stands on it as his owanka or "place".
14. Tuwa tokeys yal-la shnika? Who shall get there first? When boys are going somewhere one says suddenly, "Let us see who shall be the first one to reach yonder bush". The last one who gets there shall be compelled to play with girls and wear girls' clothing, or he may say, "The last one who gets there shall have a son with very large nostrils." As the threatened result is considered very undesirable by the Indians, each boy runs as fast as he can. He unfortunate boy who gets there is shouted at and derided, until he gets angry and gives them bad names.
15. Hoshnanshnana kichun'pi Hopping- The boys set up an object as a mark or starting place. One of the boys stands there and hops as if he were lame, going as far from the starting point as possible, and returning thither in the same manner. Each succeeding player tries to hop further than his predecessor. When he desires, he can hop on the other foot. This exercise makes them very weary, but it strengthens their limbs. Sometimes they draw a line on the ground with their toes to mark the distance hopped by one of the less fortunate boys. No one can hold his foot with his hand as he hops.
16. Wikinl-wichakiuapi, Causing them to scramble for gifts - When a boy has plenty of property, such as palsohanpl, arrows, tops, or many small things of different kinds, he invites his companions to a feast, and throws up one thing after another into the air. Whoever catches an object as it falls becomes its owner.
17. Can-shing akan-yankapi - Sitting on wooden horses - They take sticks of green wood, tie cords to them to serve as bridles, and sits astride the sticks; use a switch for a whip; imitate the gaits ofPage 343 Games of Teton Dakota Children
horses. Sometimes two forked sticks are driven upright into the ground, and in the forks of these sticks another stick is laid horizontally, on which is placed a saddle, on which a boy sits. Sometimes a saddle is placed on a fallen tree and a boy rides him. Occasionally a boy; who acts the horse, holds two sticks for front legs, going on all fours, and another boy mounts him and rides around.
18. Hohu yukhnumpi, Making the bone hum by twisting the cord - Bone is not the only material used, for the toy is sometimes made of stone or of a circular piece of wood. This toy is made thus; Some deer or buffalo sinews are twisted together, parts of a deer's foot are cooked till soft and strung together on the sinew. To the ends of the sinew are fastened two sticks which serve as handles, one stick at each end, each being at right angles to the sinew. The sinew is twisted, and when pulled taut the toy makes a humming sound.
Another variety is called Chan kaobieiuniunpi, Wood humming edges, not circular, but made thus: A straight piece of wood is prepared with four sides or edges, and is fastened by a strip of hide to another piece of wood which is used as a handle. They boy grasps the handle, whirls it around his head, making the four-cornered piece move rapidly with a whizzing noise. This may be compared with the "bull roarer" of the Australians.
The third variety is made of stones shaped like the bones in a deer's foot. These stones overlap as do the real bones, and when the leather cord is twisted the bones make a peculiar sound, as if as the boys and girls.
19. Pretending to die - When boys imitate the acts of those who wear grass around the waist (the Pezhi mignaka kaghapi) he who intends to feign death sits and acts as if he were a man, bowing his head while the others sing one of the songs peculiar to the game, but when the bent the drum, he rises to his feet and goes to the middle of the circle. He dances in a crouching attitude. Finally he slips and falls, kicking while he lies there. One of his friends dances toward him and tries to raise him; but as the fallen boy seems to be dead, his friend dances back to his former place, dragging the body.
Games Played by Boys and Young Men
In the winter the boys collect the good ribs of animals that are near the village. They make gashes across them, and on one sidePage 344 Games of Teton Dakota Children
of each rib they make a hole, in which they insert two plum sticks. The small end of each plum stick they insert into the hole of a quill feather of some bird. The small end of each plum sticks is bent backwards. Just at the fork of the two plum sticks the player grasps the toy, called "butanachute" making it glide over the snow or ice. Stakes are put down when desired, but sometimes they play just for amusement. Occasionally young men join the boys in this game.
Games Played by Children or Adults of Either Men
Chun wiyushnan'pi Odd or even - Played at any time by two persons. A like number of green switches must be prepared by each player. Sumac sticks are generally chosen, as they are not easily broken by handling; hence one name for sumac stalks is "Counting-stick stalks". One sticks is made the odd one, probably distinguished by some mark. When they being, one of the players seizes all the sticks and mixes them as well as he can. Closing his eyes, he divides them into two piles, taking about an equal number in each hand. Then, crossing his hands, he says to the other player, "Come, take whichever lot you choose." Both players are seated. The other player makes his choice, and then each one examines what he has. He who has the odd stick wins the game.
Autumnal Game of the Boys or Women
Pslokanpi, They shove it along - The boys play this game when the leaves become a rusty yellow. They go to a place where the smallest kind of willow abounds, and there they make a fire. They cut down the straightest of the willows, shaving off the bark with knives. Some color the willows in stripes. Others change the willows into what they call "Chan kablaskapi" i.e. wood flattened by beating; but what these are Boshotter does not explain. Much of this text is very obscure. Sometimes the young women play the game, at othertimes the men do, but each sex has its peculiar way of making the palsohanpi glide along. Sometimes they play for stakes.
Game Played by Boys, Younger married Men, or Women
Tasiha un'pi, Game with the hoofs of a deer - They string several deer hoofs together and throw them suddenly upward. They jerk them back again by the cord to which they are attached, and as they fall the player who has a sharp-pointed sticks tries to thrustPage 345 Games of Teton Dakota Children
it through the holes of the hoofs, and if he succeeds he counts the number of hoofs through which his stick has gone. A number of small beads of various colors are strung together and fastened to the smallest hoof at the end of the string. When a player adds a bead to those on the string he has another chance to try his skill in piercing the hoofs. When one misses the mark he hands the hoofs, etc. to the next player. Each one tries to send the stick through more hoofs than did his predecessor. Two sides are chosen by the players. Each player offers articles as stakes for the winner. The season for playing is not specified.
The women, when they play this game, bring their husbands' goods without the knowledge of the owners, and sometimes lose all of them. When the men play, they sometimes stake all of their wives' property, and occasionally they lose all. Now and then this game is played just for amusement, without having any stakes.
This page is managed by
Rev. Raymond A. Bucko, S.J.
of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology
at Creighton University.
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