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Gaming at Celilo Indian Village

February 6, 2010

Tradition and native heritage is alive and well on the banks of the Columbia. This video is from a night of traditional gaming at Celilo Indian Village. Most of the village is new; after 50 years, promised housing has been provided by the Corp of Engineers. This building is one of the few older buildings. Religous and ceremonial gatherings are held in the beautiful, recently built “longhouse” next door. This room hosts dances and other events.

I still hope to add narration to the video… it was too noisy to get an explanation of the game at the time, and when I came back later the game was over and everyone had left. I don’t know who won the $500.

The first round was “traditional,” with two groups facing each other. The traditional game begins with plenty of time for side bets and flourishing. The small white cylinders are bones, one with a stripe. They are hid in a person’s hands, often under cover of a scarf or hat. The hands are then extended. The opposing team has to name which hand the striped bone is in. The long, slender sticks, so beautifully decorated, are used to keep score. The winning team ends up with all of the sticks.

All of this takes place in the rush and swell of a steady drumbeat and singing.</P

These are the things I observed. There is, of course, more to it then that. An Indian man tried to explain it to me the next day, manipulating rocks in the dust of a rodeo arena while he talked about the intricasies. It seemed both simple and complex; I was a poor pupil, though, I just couldn’t picture how it worked.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 20:29

    Wonderful video. I liked reading your description and response.

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