Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mandan Sioux Indian Games

Mandan Sioux Indian Games




The Mandans have a game “which may be said to be their favorite amusement, and unknown to the other tribes about them. The game is tchung-kee (see Fig. 59), a beautiful athletic exercise which they seem to be almost unceasingly practising whilst the weather is fair, and they have nothing else of moment to demand their attention. This game is decidedly their favorite amusement, and is played near to the village on a pavement of clay which has been used for that purpose until it has become as smooth and hard as a floor. For this game two champions form their respective parties, by choosing alternately the most famous players, until their requisite numbers are made up. Their bettings are then made, and their stakes are held by some of the chiefs, or others present. The play commences with two (one from each party), who start off upon a trot abreast of each other, and one of them rolls, in advance of them on the pavement, a little ring of two or three inches in diameter, cut out of a stone; and each one follows it up with his tchung-kee (a stick six feet in length, with little bits of leather projecting from its sides, of an inch or more in length), which he throws before him as he runs, sliding it along upon the ground after the ring, endeavoring to place it in such a position when it stops, that the ring may fall upon it, and receive one of the little projections of leather through it, which counts for game one, or two, or four, according to the position of the leather on which the ring is lodged. The last winner always has the rolling of the ring, and both start the tchung-kee together; if either fails to receive the ring, or to lie in a certain position, it is a forfeiture of the amount of the number he was nearest to, and he loses his throw; when another steps into his place. The game is a difficult one to describe so as to give an exact idea of it, unless one can see it played; it is a game of great beauty and fine bodily exercise, and these people become excessively fond of it.”—Catlin’s North American Indians, I,132.