CONTESTS OF SKILL.





Lewis and Clarke [Footnote: Vol. II, p. 140.] describe a game among the

Oregon Indians which can neither be called an athletic game nor a game

of chance, but which seems to have been a simple contest of skill. "Two

pins are placed on the floor, about the distance of a foot from each

other, and a small hole made behind them. The players then go about ten

feet from the hole, into which they try to roll a small piece,

resembling the men used at draughts; if they succeed in putting it into

the hole, they win the stake; if the piece rolls between the pins, but

does not go into the hole, nothing is won or lost; but the wager is

wholly lost if the chequer rolls outside the pins."



Morgan [Footnote: League of the Iroquois, p. 303.] describes a winter

contest of skill among the Iroquois, which he calls snow-snake. The

so-called snakes were made of hickory. They were from five to seven feet

in length, a quarter of an inch in thickness, tapering from an inch in

width at the head to about half an inch at the tail. The head was round,

turned up slightly and weighted with lead. This implement was shot along

the snow crust, by hand, with great speed, and a point in the game was



gained by the snake which ran the greatest distance. When there were a

number of players divided into sides, if there were two, three or more

snakes of the same side which were in advance of the snakes of the other

side, all such counted. Such contests usually took place between tribes

and aroused a great degree of spirit and the usual amount of betting. In

simpler form, Sagard Theodat describes this kind of amusement.





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