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Indian Games : an historical research   By:

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Indian Games: An Historical Research, written by Andrew McFarland Davis, is a rich and informative exploration of the traditional games played by indigenous peoples of North America. The author undertakes a comprehensive investigation into the historical, cultural, and social dimensions of these games, offering readers a fascinating glimpse into the diverse and centuries-old gaming traditions that have shaped indigenous cultures.

Davis sets the stage by delving into the origins of Indian games, tracing their roots back to pre-contact times. He meticulously analyzes historical records, oral accounts, and archaeological findings to piece together a comprehensive picture of how games were not just an idle pastime but a central aspect of native life. The author showcases how these games were deeply intertwined with spirituality, social interactions, and even warfare strategies, thus portraying their significance within indigenous communities.

One of the book's most commendable aspects is its ability to capture the essence of different Indian games, providing detailed descriptions and rules. Davis goes beyond mere surface-level explanations, delving into the symbolism behind each game and its place in the larger cultural fabric. By doing so, he effectively highlights the interconnectedness of these games with various aspects of indigenous life, such as kinship, storytelling, and traditions.

Additionally, Davis thoroughly examines the regional variations of Indian games across different tribes and geographical areas. He pays particular attention to how specific games were tailored to suit local ecosystems, reflecting the intimate relationship between indigenous communities and their natural surroundings. Through these descriptions, readers gain an understanding of the diversity and depth of indigenous gaming traditions, dispelling any preconceived notions of homogeneity.

Another commendable feature of Indian Games is the author's inclusion of firsthand accounts and anecdotes from indigenous individuals. By giving voice to native perspectives, Davis enhances the book's authenticity and credibility, allowing readers to gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural significance of Indian games. These personal narratives vividly capture the joy, competition, and communal spirit that pervade traditional gaming events, making the book both informative and emotionally compelling.

However, it is worth noting that the book's academic tone and extensive historical analysis may be intimidating for some readers seeking a more casual read. While the depth of research is commendable, parts of the text can feel excessively detailed or dry, potentially deterring general readership. To fully appreciate Indian Games, a genuine interest in indigenous cultures, history, or sports is recommended.

In conclusion, Indian Games: An Historical Research by Andrew McFarland Davis offers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of traditional games played by indigenous peoples of North America. Davis skillfully combines historical research, cultural analysis, and personal narratives to present a nuanced and captivating account of these games. While the academic tone may pose a challenge to some readers, those with an interest in indigenous cultures or the history of traditional sports will find this book a worthwhile and enlightening read.

First Page:




"There are," says Father Brebeuf in his account of what was worthy of note among the Hurons in 1636, [Footnote: Relations des Jesuites, Quebec, 1858, p. 113.] "three kinds of games particularly in vogue with this people; cross, platter, and straw. The first two are, they say, supreme for the health. Does not that excite our pity? Lo, a poor sick person, whose body is hot with fever, whose soul foresees the end of his days, and a miserable sorcerer orders for him as the only cooling remedy, a game of cross. Sometimes it is the invalid himself who may perhaps have dreamed that he will die unless the country engages in a game of cross for his health. Then, if he has ever so little credit, you will see those who can best play at cross arrayed, village against village, in a beautiful field, and to increase the excitement, they will wager with each other their beaver skins and their necklaces of porcelain beads."

"Sometimes also one of their medicine men will say that the whole country is ill and that a game of cross is needed for its cure. It is not necessary to say more. The news incontinently spreads everywhere. The chiefs in each village give orders that all the youths shall do their duty in this respect, otherwise some great calamity will overtake the country... Continue reading book >>

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