America and Indian race — страница 10

  • Просмотров 8744
  • Скачиваний 62
  • Размер файла 61
    Кб

Navajo beliefs, the Universe is a balanced place. Illness and other disasters happen if the balance is upset. It is believed only Humans can upset this balance, not animals or plants! To make the person healthly again a ceremony is performed. The sandpaintings, called ikaah, used in these ceremonies are made between sunrise and sunset of the same day. Games and Amusements Naturally careless of the future, the Indian gave himself up to pleasure when not under immediate necessity or danger, and his leisure time at home was filled with a constant round of feasting, dancing, story-telling, athletic contests, and gambling games. The principal athletic game everywhere east of the Missouri, as well as with some tribes of the Pacific coast, was the ballplay adopted by the French of

Canada under the name lacrosse and in Louisiana as racquette. In this game the ball was caught, not with the hand, but with a netted ball-stick somewhat resembling a tennis racket. A special dance and secret ceremonial preceded the contest. Next in tribal favour in the eastern region was the game known to the early traders under the corrupted Creek name of chunkee, in which one player rolled a stone wheel along the ground, while his competitor slid after it a stick curved at one end like an umbrella handle with the design of having the spent wheel fall within the curve at the end of its course. This game, which necessitated much hard running, was sometimes kept up for hours. A somewhat similar game played with a netted wheel and a straight stick was found upon the plains, the

object being to dart the stick through the certain netted holes in the wheel, known as the buffalo, bull, calf, etc.(remember ‘to catch the bull’s eye’). Foot races were very popular with certain tribes, as the Pueblo, Apache. Wichita and Crows, being frequently a part of great ceremonial functions. On the plains horse-racing furnished exciting amusement. There were numerous gambling games, somewhat of the dice order, played with marked sticks, plum stones, carved bones, etc., these being in special favour with the women. Target shooting with bow and arrow, and various forms of dart shooting were also popular. Among distinctly women's games were football and shinny, the former, however, being merely the bouncing of the ball from the toes with the purpose of keeping in the

air as long as possible. Hand games, in which a number of players arranged themselves in two opposing lines and alternately endeavoured to guess the whereabouts of a small object shifted rapidly from hand to hand, were a favourite tipi pastime with both sexes in the winter evenings, to the accompaniment of songs fitted to the rapid movement of the hands. Story-telling and songs, usually to the accompaniment of the rattle or small hand-drum, filled in the evening. The Indian was essentially musical, his instruments being the drum, rattle, flute, or flageolet, eagle-bone whistle and other more crude devices. Each had its special religious significance and ceremonial purposes, particularly the rattle, of which there were many varieties. Besides the athletic and gambling games, there

were games of diversion played only on rare occasions of tribal necessity with sacred paraphernalia in keeping of sacred guardians. The Indian was fond also of singing and had songs for every occasion — love, war, hunting, gaming, medicine, satire, children's songs, and lullabies. The children played with tops, whips, dolls, and other toys, or imitated their elders in shooting, riding, and "playing house". War As war is the normal condition of savagery, so to the Indian warlike glory was the goal of his ambition, the theme of his oratory, and the purpose of his most elaborate ceremonial. His weapons were the knife, bow, club, lance, and tomahawk, or stone axe, which last was very soon superseded by the light steel hatchet supplied by the trader. To these, certain

tribes added defensive armour, as the body-armour of rawhides or wooden rods in use along the northwest coast and some other sections, and the shield more particularly used by the equestrian tribes of the plains. As a rule, the lance and shield were more common in the open country, and the tomahawk in the woods. The bow was usually of some tough and flexible wood with twisted sinew cord, but was sometimes of bone or horn backed with sinew rapping. It is extremely doubtful if poisoned arrows were found north of Mexico, notwithstanding many assertions to the contrary. Where the clan system prevailed the general conduct of war matters was often in the keeping of special clans, and in some tribes, such as the Creeks, war and peace negotiations and ceremonials belonged to certain