Monday, September 13, 2010

Is Labor Day Weekend already over????

You can't even IMAGINE my surprise when I realized it's ROUND UP time here in my little corner of the world ( everyone in my universe was scurrying about getting tepee poles and checking their tepees then mending them...getting their regalia prepared for all of the parades and dancing and other activities that we Indians do during this Big Deal.

Because for myself, I was getting ready for Labor Day...our big weekend to go to Wellpinit Washington for our favorite stickgame of the year.

The trip up to Wellpinit was full of laughter and fun as well as amazing views. Our arrival at the grounds was met with joyous laughter and excitement. NOW we're ready to go play!!!!

Stickgame? It's an (American) Indian gambling game - a guessing game. There are two sets of "bones" one is marked and eleven sticks. The game is to acquire ALL of the sticks (each team starts out with five sticks and one has the "kick stick"). The "kick stick" is what determines who starts the game - two captains face each other with a set of the bones and guesses how the other one hides them. The one who guesses correctly first gets to start the game. Bets are placed by giving money to the captain...

Songs are sung to "distract" the opponent and these songs are melodious yet raucous; precise and yet so wild. You really have to hear them in order to understand their depth and fun.
The songs for this game are old and fun and amazing in so many ways. I don't know the meaning of all of them, but one of them is a "Prairie dog" it's being sung, you can just imagine the prairie dog popping up from one hole and then another as it teases and tricks it's opponent. As you can see the games are big with a LOT of money staked by each team (it's a double or nothing bet).

One of the concepts about stickgame that I love so much is that here we are, hundreds of people gathered to play together. We came from all different tribes, sat down next to each other full knowing we'd never met and maybe will not see each other again, yet in unity, we lift our voices unity, we laugh and cheer when the bones are on our side and we win as a team another stick, in unity, we happily collect our money when the game's over and move on to the next game...and yet in two weeks, we may sit across the table from one another and look at each other suspiciously over a water rights issue or a fishing issue or who can get more funds for diabetes...but for TODAY, we're in unity.

The gentleman and his family from this motorhome had a dinner and invited us to eat with them. What hospitality!

My friend got to see her sister whom she hadn't seen in months and months! It was a happy reunion for them.

It was a beautiful trip but we were SO ready for home when we left:-)

headed home!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun! And of course beautiful pics! Did you cut your hair???

Grandma K said...

Sounds wonderful. What a great thing to do. I'll bet the songs are really something.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Seems like everyone had a great time!
Love your stories and Prairie Dog sounds like great fun!
Looks like you won lots of dollars there!!!!

Big, big hugs!

Anonymous said...

Cool blog, I had not noticed earlier in my searches!
Carry on the wonderful work!

flying eagle woman said...

:-) thanks all for your responses, the picture isn't of me, it's my friend Babette.

More to come - we recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pendleton Round up!

BB said...

Cool story Shawna,thank you for sharing tere´s so much i would like to learn from your culture.
I hope all is well.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Seems like everyone had a great time, my friend!
Love the pictures! They look awesome!
You look great in that pic.

Warm hugs,

B xx