Prophecy and Power among the Dogrib Indians

By June Helm | Go to book overview

7
Ink'on in Play and Legend

Ink'on in the Hand Game

Except for the last story, this section is taken, with a few adjustments, from the report by Helm and Lurie ( 1966) on the Dogrib hand game. All three stories of ink'on in the hand game are from Vital Thomas.

The Dogrib hand game is a fast-tempo guessing game played to the accompaniment of vigorous drumbeats and chanting. There are two teams. The players of each team arrange themselves in a single line along one side of a tent to face the opponents on the other side. Throughout the game, players of both teams maintain the characteristic kneeling-seated posture of the Indian man.

One team at a time operates as the active playing team. Each playing member of that team hides a token (idzi) in one of his fists. A single member of the opposing team serves as the guesser, who by means of a hand signal guesses simultaneously against all the opposing men, indicating in which fist each man holds his idzi. It is the objective of the guesser in each guess to "kill" as many of the opponents as possible by correctly guessing the disposition of the concealed tokens. Once all opposing players are killed, the right to be the playing (hiding) team passes to the other side.

It is the playing team that scores. For every man who is missed on each guess, the playing team receives one tally stick. If the playing team can accumulate all the tally sticks twice in succession, the men of this team have won a game and will be paid individually by opposing bettors on the opposite team. The function of the guesser of the nonplaying team is to eliminate as quickly as possible all the players of the active team so that the right to be the active hiding team, and therefore scoring team, may

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Prophecy and Power among the Dogrib Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xii
  • Orthography xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Three Styles in the Practice of Prophecy 5
  • 1 - Prelude to Prophecy 7
  • 2 - Message, Performance, and Persona 27
  • 3 - The Foundations of Prophecy 52
  • Part Two - Ink'On 73
  • 4 - One Man's Ink'On 75
  • 5 - Aspects of Ink'On 80
  • 6 - The Highest Men for Ink'On"" 101
  • 7 - Ink'On in Play and Legend 121
  • 8 - Vital Thomas: A Brief Autobiography 146
  • Appendix 155
  • Notes 158
  • References 164
  • Personal Name Index 169
  • In Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians *
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