Posts made in July, 2016

The Girl who Ran with Horses

The Girl who Ran with Horses

In the mid-1900’s, a 70 year old Northern Arapaho woman shared the following story about a girl and a herd of wild horses. It had been told to her when she was about 12 years old by her grandmother. “There was a man and his wife and their relatives. All these and their friends were traveling together. They had been camping together. In the fall, about September or October, they set out to find a camping place for the winter. So they broke up camp and started out. Now, one of the daughters of this man and his wife was married to a man from another group. While they were traveling, looking for the winter camping place, this girl stopped her father and mother – they were on horseback – and told them that she had lost her pillow. She told them to go on ahead slowly while she went back and looked for her pillow. She rode back on horseback alone and came to a drove of wild horses near some brush. When these wild horses saw this woman on horseback, they all ran toward her. There was a stallion in the group. This girl got off her horse, got on the stallion and got away with him. When it was about time for her to return and there was no sign of her, her people began to wonder what had happened to her. The horse she had ridden out came back, but she did not. So they waited in that place for a while. The girl’s husband rode around, off and on, looking for her. Then they had gotten enough meat to least for a while, they decided to go back to look for the girl. The men rode out on horseback and looked all over the hills for her. They often came to where the group of wild horses were, but they never suspected anything. They passed up the horses just looking for the girl. One man said one day, “These horses may have chased that girl’s horse and she may have knocked off her horse.” The men then rode back to the camp. Her husband stayed and continued to look around for his wife. After awhile, he, too got back to camp. Then they all got on swift horses and again rode out to the wild horses. These wild horses were altogether different from the horses the Indians rode and so the men made a plan. They would round up all these wild horses and drive them to their watering place in the river. When they got them all rounded up and got them to the river, they found this girl among them. She was getting...

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Arapaho Dice Game

Arapaho Dice Game

One of the more popular games among the Arapaho, especially the women, was a counting dice game. This high stake game had been known to last up to several days. During the early years of reservation life, it was a common occurrence to see the older women put on their blanket and go off to gamble with their friends and family. The Arapaho had two type of dice games they played, one with bones or seeds and the other with sticks. The games were similar to each other and mainly just differed in the materials used. To play the bone and seed dice game, you needed at least two sets each made up of two dice and a basket to toss them in. The dice were made of plum-stones, seeds or bone. They were usually marked by burning designs into one side and leaving the other side blank. The dice could also be incised or bored with rows of holes filled in with paint. There were usually only two sets used at one time but occasionally as many as five sets can be used. The count depends on the combination of marked and unmarked sides as the dice fall. The stakes are won when all the dice fall alike and match, either unmarked or marked. Points are also given when the dice of each set fall alike even though the sets differ. When one die alone falls different from the rest, one point is scored. The dice are usually tossed into a special willow basket made for the game. These baskets are about 8 inches round, two inches deep and have flat bottoms, with sides rising without curvature at an angle from the bottom. The center of the basket is wide open. Some basket bottoms are covered with a piece of skin sewed in with sinew thread and the baskets can be dyed red. It was the only time the Arapaho women made woven baskets. Dice were unique and individually designed with such things as dragonflies, birds and other symbols. When playing a game, two sets of dice were never the same so that it could be told with a glance who won. The dice game had many of the same elements when sticks were used instead of the bone or seed dice. The sticks ranged in size from half a foot to a foot in length, were split lengthwise and with the pith removed. The flat side was then painted and the outer side left white. A stick dice game consists of two sets, each set containing four sticks of one color. The unpainted backs were marked by burning various symbols into one of the two sets of...

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