By Andrew McFarland Davis
Public Domain Books
In 1667, Nicolas Perrot, then acting as agent of the French government, was received near Saut Sainte Marie with stately courtesy and formal ceremony by the Miamis, to whom he was deputed. A few days after his arrival, the chief of that nation gave him, as an entertainment, a game of lacrosse. [Footnote: Histoire de l’Amerique Septentrionale par M. de Bacqueville de la Potherie, Paris, 1722, Vol. II, 124, et seq.] “More than two thousand persons assembled in a great plain each with his cross. A wooden ball about the size of a tennis ball was tossed in the air. From that moment there was a constant movement of all these crosses which made a noise like that of arms which one hears during a battle. Half the savages tried to send the ball to the northwest the length of the field, the others wished to make it go to the southeast. The contest which lasted for a half hour was doubtful.”
In 1763, an army of confederate nations, inspired by the subtle influence of Pontiac’s master mind, formed the purpose of seizing the scattered forts held by the English along the northwestern frontier. On the fourth day of June of that year, the garrison at Fort Michilimackinac, unconscious of their impending fate, thoughtlessly lolled at the foot of the palisade and whiled away the day in watching the swaying fortunes of a game of ball which was being played by some Indians in front of the stockade. Alexander Henry, who was on the spot at the time, says that the game played by these Indians was “Baggatiway, called by the Canadians le jeu de la Crosse.” [Footnote: Travels and Adventures in Canada, etc, by Alexander Henry, New York, 1809, p. 78, Travels through the Interior parts of North America, by Jonathan Carver, London, 1778, p. 19. The Book of the Indians, by Samuel G. Drake, Boston, 1811, Book V, Ch. III, p. 52.]
Parkman [Footnote: The Conspiracy of Pontiac, by Francis Parkman, Boston, 1870, Vol. 1, p. 339.] concludes a vivid description of the surprise and massacre of the garrison at Michilimackinac, based upon authentic facts, as follows: “Bushing and striking, tripping their adversaries, or hurling them to the ground, they pursued the animating contest amid the laughter and applause of the spectators. Suddenly, from the midst of the multitude, the ball soared into the air and, descending in a wide curve, fell near the pickets of the fort. This was no chance stroke. It was part of a preconcerted scheme to insure the surprise and destruction of the garrison. As if in pursuit of the ball, the players turned and came rushing, a maddened and tumultuous throng, towards the gate. In a moment they had reached it. The amazed English had no time to think or act. The shrill cries of the ball-players were changed to the ferocious war-whoop. The warriors snatched from the squaws the hatchets which the latter, with this design, had concealed beneath their blankets. Some of the Indians assailed the spectators without, while others rushed into the fort, and all was carnage and confusion.”
Thus we see that the favorite game of ball of the North American Indians, known to-day, as it was in 1636, by the name of “lacrosse," was potent among them as a remedial exercise or superstitious rite to cure diseases and avert disaster; that it formed part of stately ceremonials which were intended to entertain and amuse distinguished guests; and that it was made use of as a stratagem of war, by means of which to lull the suspicions of the enemy and to gain access to their forts.
The descriptions of lacrosse which have been transmitted to us, would often prove unintelligible to one who had never seen the game played. The writers of the accounts which have come down to us from the early part of the seventeenth century were men whose lives were spent among the scenes which they described and they had but little time, and few opportunities for careful writing. The individual records though somewhat confused enable us easily to identify the game, and a comparison of the different accounts shows how thoroughly the main features of the game have been preserved.
Lacrosse is played to-day as follows: The number of players on the opposing sides should be equal. Regular stations are assigned in the rules for playing the game, for twelve on each side. Goals, each consisting of two upright posts or staffs, generally about six feet apart and of equal height, are planted at each end of the field. The length of the field and its bounds are determined by the character of the ground and the skill of the players. The effort of each side is to prevent the ball from passing through the goal assigned to its protection, and equally to try to drive it through the opposite goal. Under no circumstances can the ball be touched during the game, while within the bounds, by the hands of the players. Each player has a racket, the length of which, though optional, is ordinarily from four to five feet. One end of this racket or bat is curved like a shepherd’s crook, and from the curved end a thong is carried across to a point on the handle about midway its length. In the space thus enclosed between the thong and the handle, which at its broadest part should not exceed a foot in width, a flat network is interposed. This forms the bat. It is with this that the player picks up and throws the ball used in the game, which should be about eight or nine inches in circumference. The ball is placed in the centre of the field by the umpire, and when the game is called, the opposing players strive to get possession of it with their rackets. The play consists in running with it and throwing it, with the design of driving it between the adversary’s goal posts; and in defensive action, the purpose of which is to prevent the opponents from accomplishing similar designs on their part. As the wind or the sunlight may favor one side or the other on any field, provision is generally made for a change of goals during the match. The stations of the players and the minor rules of the game are unimportant in this connection.
The oldest attempt at a detailed description of the game is given by Nicolas Perrot who from 1662 to 1699 spent the greater part of his time as coureur de bois, trader, or government agent, among the Indians of the far West. It is of him that Abbe Ferland says, “Courageous man, honest writer and good observer, Perrot lived for a long time among the Indians of the West who were very much attached to him.” His accounts of the manners and customs of the North American Indians have been liberally used by subsequent writers and as the part treating of games is not only very full but also covers a very early period of history, it is doubly interesting for purposes of comparison with games of a later day. He [Footnote: Memoire sur les Moeurs, Coustumes et Relligion des Sauvages de l’Amerique Septentrionale, par Nicolas Perrot, Leipzig et Paris, 1864, p. 43, et seq.] says, “The savages have many kinds of games in which they delight. Their natural fondness for them is so great that they will neglect food and drink, not only to join in a game but even to look at one. There is among them a certain game of cross which is very similar to our tennis. Their custom in playing it is to match tribe against tribe, and if the numbers are not equal they render them so by withdrawing some of the men from the stronger side. You see them all armed with a cross, that is to say a stick which has a large portion at the bottom, laced like a racket. The ball with which they play is of wood and of nearly the shape of a turkey’s egg. The goals of the game are fixed in an open field. These goals face to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south.” Then follows a somewhat confused description of the method and the rules of the contest from which we can infer that after a side had won two goals they changed sides of the field with their opponents, and that two out of three, or three out of five goals decided the game.
Reading Perrot’s description in connection with that given by de la Potherie of the game played before Perrot by the Miamis, helps us to remove the confusion of the account. Abbe Ferlande [Footnote: Cours d’Histoire du Canada, par J.B. Ferland, Quebec, 1861, Vol. I, p. 134.] describes the game. He was a diligent student of all sources of authority upon these subjects and was probably familiar with the modern game. His account of the Indian game follows that of Perrot so closely as to show that it was his model. It is, however, clear and distinct in its details, free from the confusion which attends Perrot’s account and might almost serve for a description of the game as played by the Indians to-day. Perrot was a frontier-man and failed when he undertook to describe anything that required careful and exact use of language. We can only interpret him intelligently by combining his descriptions with those of other writers and applying our own knowledge of the game as we see it to-day. He is, however, more intelligible when he gets on more general ground, and after having disposed of the technicalities of the game, he proceeds: “Men, women, boys and girls are received on the sides which they make up, and they wager between themselves more or less according to their means.”
“These games ordinarily begin after the melting of the ice and they last even to seed time. In the afternoon one sees all the players bedecked [Transcriber’s Note: Lengthy footnote (1) relocated to chapter end.] and painted. Each party has its leader who addresses them, announcing to his players the hour fixed for opening the game. The players assemble in a crowd in the middle of the field and one of the leaders of the two sides, having the ball in his hands casts it into the air. Each one then tries to throw it towards the side where he ought to send it. If it falls to the earth, the player tries to draw it to him with his cross. If it is sent outside the crowd, then the most active players, by closely pursuing it, distinguish themselves. You hear the noise which they make striking against each other and warding off blows, in their strife to send the ball in the desired direction. When one of them holds the ball between his feet, it is for him, in his unwillingness to let it go, to avoid the blows which his adversaries incessantly shower down upon his feet. Should he happen to be wounded at this juncture, he alone is responsible for it. It has happened that some have had their legs broken, others their arms and some have been killed. It is not uncommon to see among them those who are crippled for life and who could only be at such a game by an act of sheer obstinacy. When accidents of this kind happen, the unfortunate withdraws quietly from the game if he can do so. If his injury will not permit him, his relations carry him to the cabin and the game continues until it is finished as if nothing bad happened.”
“When the sides are equal the players will occupy an entire afternoon without either side gaining any advantage; at other times one of the two will gain the two games that they need to win. In this game you would say to see them run that they looked like two parties who wanted to fight. This exercise contributes much to render the savages alert and prepared to avoid blows from the tomahawk of an enemy, when they find themselves in a combat. Without being told in advance that it was a game, one might truly believe that they fought in open country. Whatever accident the game may cause, they attribute it to the chance of the game and have no ill will towards each other. The suffering is for the wounded, who bear it contentedly as if nothing had happened, thus making it appear that they have a great deal of courage and are men.”
“The side that wins takes whatever has been put up on the game and whatever there is of profit, and that without any dispute on the part of the others when it is a question of paying, no matter what the kind of game. Nevertheless, if some person who is not in the game, or who has not bet anything, should throw the ball to the advantage of one side or the other, one of those whom the throw would not help would attack him, demanding if this is his affair and why he has mixed himself with it. They often come to quarrel about this and if some of the chiefs did not reconcile them, there would be blood shed and perhaps some killed.”
Originally, the game was open to any number of competitors. According to the Relation of 1636, “Village was pitted against village.” “Tribe was matched against tribe,” says Perrot. The number engaged in the game described by La Potherie [Footnote: Vol. II, p. 126.] was estimated by him at two thousand. LaHontan [Footnote: Memoires de L’Amerique Septentrionale, ou la Suite des Voyages de Mr. Le Baron de LaHontan, Amsterdam, 1705, Vol. II, p. 113.] says that “the savages commonly played it in large companies of three or four hundred at a time,” while Charlevoix [Footnote: Histoire de la Nouvelle France. Journal d’un Voyage. etc, par le P. de Charlevoix, Paris, 1744, Vol. III, p. 319.] says the number of players was variable and adds “for instance if they are eighty,” thus showing about the number he would expect to find in a game. When Morgan [Footnote: League of the Iroquois, by Lewis H. Morgan, Rochester, 1851, p. 294.] speaks of six or eight on a side, he must allude to a later period, probably after the game was modified by the whites who had adopted it among their amusements. [Transcriber’s Note: Lengthy footnote (2) relocated to chapter end.]
Our earliest accounts of the game as played by the Indians in the south are about one hundred years later than the corresponding records in the north. Adair [Footnote: The History of the American Indians, particularly those Nations adjoining to the Mississippi, etc, by James Adam, London, 1775, p. 399.] says the gamesters are equal in number and speaks of “the crowd of players” preventing the one who “catches the ball from throwing it off with a long direction.” Bossu [Footnote: Travels through that Part of North America formerly called Louisiana, by Mr. Bossu, Captain in the French Marines. Translated from the French by John Hemhold Forster, London, 1771, Vol. I, p. 304.] says, “they are forty on each side,” while Bartram [Footnote: Travels through North and South Carolina, etc., by William Bartram, Philadelphia, 1701, p. 508.] says, “the inhabitants of one town play against another in consequence of a challenge.” From this it would seem that among those Indians, as at the North, the number of players was governed only by the circumstances under which the game was played.
The ball, originally of wood, [Footnote: La Potherie, Vol. II, p. 126; Perrot, p. 44.] was replaced by one made of deer skin. Adair gives the following description of its manufacture: “The ball is made of a piece of scraped deerskin, moistened, and stuffed hard with deer’s hair, and strongly sewed with deer’s sinews.” [Footnote: p. 400.]
According to Morgan the racket has undergone a similar change, from a curved wooden head to the curved stick with open network, but we have seen in the earliest description at our command, that in the days of Perrot the cross was “laced like a racket.” [Footnote: League of the Iroquois. p. 298; Perrot p. 44.]
The game was played not only by the Indians of our Coast, but Powers [Footnote: Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. III, p. 151. Tribes of California by Stephen Powers; The same game is described among the Meewocs in The Native Races of the Pacific States by H. H. Bancroft, Vol. I, p. 393.] found it also among the Californian Indians. He describes a game of tennis played by the Pomo Indians in Russian River Valley, of which he had heard nothing among the northern tribes. “A ball is rounded out of an oak knot as large as those used by school boys, and it is propelled by a racket which is constructed of a long slender stick, bent double and bound together, leaving a circular hoop at the extremity, across which is woven a coarse meshwork of strings. Such an implement is not strong enough for batting the ball, neither do they bat it, but simply shove or thrust it along the ground.”
Paul Kane [Footnote: Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America by Paul Kane, p. 190; H. H. Bancroft’s Native Races, Vol. I, p. 244.] describes a game played among the Chinooks. He says “They also take great delight in a game with a ball which is played by them in the same manner as the Cree, Chippewa and Sioux Indians. Two poles are erected about a mile apart, and the company is divided into two bands armed with sticks, having a small ring or hoop at the end with which the ball is picked up and thrown to a great distance, each party striving to get the ball past their own goal. They are sometimes a hundred on a side, and their play is kept up with great noise and excitement. At this play they bet heavily as it is generally played between tribes or villages.”
Domenech [Footnote: Seven Years’ Residence in the Great Deserts of North America by the Abbe Em. Domenech, Vol. II, pp. 192, 193.] writing about the Indians of the interior, calls the game “cricket,” and says the players were costumed as follows: “Short drawers, or rather a belt, the body being first daubed over with a layer of bright colors; from the belt (which is short enough to leave the thighs free) hangs a long tail, tied up at the extremity with long horse hair; round their necks is a necklace, to which is attached a floating mane, dyed red, as is the tail, and falling in the way of a dress fringe over the chest and shoulders. In the northwest, in the costume indispensable to the players, feathers are sometimes substituted for horse hair.” He adds “that some tribes play with two sticks” and that it is played in “winter on the ice.” “The ball is made of wood or brick covered with kid-skin leather, sometimes of leather curiously interwoven." Schoolcraft describes the game as played in the winter on the ice. [Footnote: Schoolcraft’s North American Indians, Vol. II, p. 78. See also Ball-play among the Dicotis, in Philander Prescott’s paper, Ibid, Vol. IV, p. 64.]
It will be observed that the widest difference prevails in the estimate of the distance apart at which the goals are set. Henry, in his account of the game at Michilimackinac says “they are at a considerable distance from each other, as a mile or more.” Charlevoix places the goals in a game with eighty players at “half a league apart” meaning probably half a mile. LaHontan estimates the distance between the goals at “five or six hundred paces.” Adair, [Footnote: Henry, p. 78 Chulevoix Vol. III, p. 319, Kane’s Wanderings, p. 189, LaHontan, Vol. II, p. 113; Adair, p. 400.] who is an intelligent writer, and who was thoroughly conversant with the habits and customs of the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chicasaws estimates the length of the field at “five hundred yards,” while Romans [Footnote: A concise Natural History of East and West Florida, by Capt Bernard Romans New York, 1770, p. 79.] in describing the goals uses this phrase “they fix two poles across each other at about a hundred and fifty feet apart.” Bossu [Footnote: Vol. I, p. 104 Similarly, Pickett (History of Alabama, Vol. I, p. 92) describes a game among the Creeks in which there was but one goal consisting of two poles erected in the centre of the field between which the ball must pass to count one. He cites “Butram,” and the “Narrative of a Mission to the Creek Nation by Col. Mammus Willet,” is his authorities neither of them sustains him on this point.] speaks as if in the game which he saw played there was but a single goal. He says “They agree upon a mark or aim about sixty yards off, and distinguished by two great poles, between which the ball is to pass.”
The goals among the northern Indians were single posts at the ends of the field. It is among the southern Indians that we first hear of two posts being raised to form a sort of gate through or over which the bull must pass. Adair says, “they fix two bending poles into the ground, three yards apart below, but slanting a considerable way outwards.” The party that happens to throw the ball “over these counts one; but if it be thrown underneath, it is cast back and played for as usual.” The ball is to be thrown “through the lower part” of the two poles which are fixed across each other at about one hundred and fifty feet apart, according to Romans. In Bossu’s account it is “between” the two great poles which distinguish the mark or aim, that “the ball is to pass.” On the other hand, Bartram, describing what he saw in North Carolina, speaks of the ball “being hurled into the air, midway between the two high pillars which are the goals, and the party who bears off the ball to their pillar wins the game.”
In some parts of the south each player had two rackets between which the ball was caught. For this purpose they were necessarily shorter than the cross of the northern Indians. Adair says, “The ball sticks are about two feet long, the lower end somewhat resembling the palm of a hand, and which are worked with deer-skin thongs. Between these they catch the ball, and throw it a great distance.” [Footnote: Adair, p. 400; A Narrative of the Military Adventures of Colonel Marinus Willett, p. 109.]
That this was not universal throughout the south would appear from Bossu’s account who says, “Every one has a battle-door in his hand about two feet and a half long, made very nearly in the form of ours, of walnut, or chestnut wood, and covered with roe-skins.” Bartram also says that each person has “a racquet or hurl, which is an implement of a very curious construction somewhat resembling a ladle or little hoop net, with a handle near three feet in length, the hoop and handle of wood and the netting of thongs of raw-hide or tendons of an animal.”
Catlin [Footnote: Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Condition of the North American Indians, by George Catlin, Vol. II, p. 123 et seq.] saw the game played by the Choctaws, on their Western Reservation. They used two rackets. In this game the old men acted as judges.
The game was ordinarily started by tossing the ball into the air in the centre of the field. This act is represented by Perrot as having been performed by one of the leaders in the game, but it is more in accord with the spirit in which the game was played, that it should have been done by some outsider. Bossu says, “An old man stands in the middle of the place appropriated to the play, and throws up into the air a ball of roe-skins rolled about each other,” while Powers [Footnote: Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. III, p. 151.] says that among the Californian Indians this act was performed by a squaw. The judges started the ball among the Choctaws. [Footnote: Cuthu, Vol. II, p. 12.] Notwithstanding the differences in the forms of the goals, their distance apart and the methods of play disclosed in all these descriptions, the game can only be regarded as the same. The historians who have preserved for us the accounts of the ancient southern games from which quotations have been made, are all Englishmen except Bossu, and he entered the country not by the way of Quebec but by way of New Orleans. It is not strange, therefore, that we do not find in use amongst them the name which the early French fathers and traders invariably applied to the game. The description, however, given by these writers, of the racket used in the south, corresponds so closely with the crook from which the game took the name by which it is known, that we must accept the game as a modified form of lacrosse. From Maine to Florida, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we trace a knowledge of it. We have found it in use among the confederate nations of the north and of the south and among scattered tribes throughout the country.
In the majority of instances the natural instincts of those who participated in the strife were stimulated by local pride. The reputation of their tribe or their village rested upon the result. Ardent as the spirit of the contest must necessarily have been under such circumstances, among a people where courage and physique counted for so much, their intense passion for gambling intervened to fan into fiercer flames the spirits of the contesting players and to inspire them to more earnest efforts. Stakes, often of the utmost consequence to the players and their backers, were wagered upon the games. A reputation for courage, for skill and for endurance, was the most valuable possession of the Indian. The maintenance of this was to a certain extent involved in each game that he played. Oftentimes in addition to this, all of his own possessions and the property of his friends and neighbors in the form of skins and beads were staked upon the result of the contest. In games where so much was involved, we need not be surprised to learn from Perrot that limbs were occasionally broken and that sometimes players were even killed. In the notes to Perrot’s Memoir it is stated that some anonymous annotator has written across the margin of Perrot’s manuscript at this point: [Footnote: Perrot. Note 1, Ch. x. p. 187.] “False, neither arms nor legs are broken, nor are players ever killed.” We scarcely need the corroboratory statements of La Potherie [Footnote: Vol. II, pp. 126-137.] that “these games are ordinarily followed by broken heads, arms and legs, and often people are killed at them;” and also of LaHontan, [Footnote: Vol. II, p. 113.] that “they tear their skins and break their legs” at them, to satisfy us that Perrot rather than his critic is to be believed. If no such statements had been made, we should infer that so violent a game, on which stakes of such vital importance were placed, could not be played by a people like the Indians, except with such results. Notwithstanding the violence of the game and the deep interest which the players and spectators took in it, the testimony of historians is uniform to the effect that accidental injuries received during its progress produced no ill will. We have seen that Perrot states that if anyone attempted to hold the ball with his feet, he took his chance of injury, and that those who were injured retired quietly from the field. Adair says, “It is a very unusual thing to see them act spitefully, not even in this severe and tempting exercise.” Bossu bears testimony to the same effect, in the following words: “The players are never displeased; some old men, who assist at the play, become mediators, and determine that the play is only intended as a recreation, and not as an opportunity of quarrelling.”
Where the game was played by appointment in response to a challenge, the men and women assembled in their best ornaments, and danced and sang during the day and night previous to that of the appointed day. The players supplicated the Great Spirit for success. Female relations chanted to him all the previous night and the men fasted from the previous night till the game was over. [Footnote: Adair, p. 401, Bossu, Vol. I, p. 306, and Willet’s Narrative, p. 109.] The players wore but little in the way of covering. Romans speaks of them as being “almost naked, painted and ornamented with feathers;” and Bossu says they were “naked, painted with various colours, having a tyger tail fastened behind, and feathers on their heads and arms.”
It is not astonishing that a game which called for such vigorous exorcise [Footnote: Ferdinand Vol. I, p. 134, and Major C. Swan in a Report concerning the Creeks in 1791. Schoolcraft, Vol. v, p. 277, that the Whites exceed the Indians at this game.] and which taxed the strength, agility and endurance of the players to such a degree, should be described by writers in terms which showed that they looked upon it rather in the light of a manly contest than as an amusement. Nevertheless the young people and the women often took part in it. Perrot tells us so, and both Romans and Bossu say that after the men were through, the women usually played a game, the bets on which were generally high. Powers [Footnote: Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. in, p. 151.] represents the squaws among the Californian Indians as joining the game.
Dexterity in the game lay in the skilful use of the racket; in rapid running; in waylaying an adversary when he was in possession of the ball; in avoiding members of the opposing side when the player himself was running with the ball for the goal, and in adroitly passing the ball to one of the same side when surrounded by opponents. To give full scope to skill in the use of the racket, great stress was laid upon the rule that the ball was not to be touched by the hand. Perrot says, “if it falls to the earth he tries to draw it to him with his cross." Charlevoix says, “Their business is to strike the ball to the post of the adverse party without letting it fall to the ground and without touching it with the hand.” Adair says, “They are not allowed to catch it with their hands.”
The early writers were struck with the fact that the character of the exercise in this game was fitted to develop the young warriors for the war path, and they commented on the practice that they thus acquired in rapid running and in avoiding blows from an instrument in the hands of an adversary.
“When we review the various features of the game which its chroniclers have thought worthy of record, we can but conclude that it was rather a contest of grave importance to the players than a mere pastime, nor can we fail to accept the concurrent testimony as to the widespread territory in which it was domesticated, as additional evidence of the extent of the intercourse which prevailed among the native tribes of this country.”
[Relocated Footnote (1): I translate apiffez, “bedecked,” assuming from the context that the author meant to write “attifez.” We have, elsewhere, accounts which show that ballplayers, even though compelled to play with scant clothing, still covered themselves with their ornaments. J. M. Stanley in his Portraits of North American Indians, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Washington, 1862, Vol. II, p. 13, says that the “Creek” ball-players first appear on the ground in costume. “During the play they divest themselves of all their ornaments which are usually displayed on these occasions for the purpose of betting on the result of the play."]
[Relocated Footnote (2): The game is also mentioned in An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith during his Captivity with the Indians in the years 1755-1759. Cincinnati, 1870, p. 78. It is described by Col. William L. Stone in his Life of Brant, Albany, 1865, Vol. II, p. 448. In one game of which he speaks, the ball was started by a young and beautiful squaw who was elaborately dressed for the occasion. Notwithstanding the extent and value of Col. Stone’s contributions to the literature on the subject of the North American Indians, he makes the erroneous statement that “The Six Nations had adopted from the Whites the popular game of ball or cricket” See p. 445, same volume, cf. The Memoir upon the late War in North America, 1755-1760, by M. Pouchot, translated and edited by Franklin B. Hough, Vol. II, p. 195. A game of ball is also described in Historical Collections of Georgia, by the Rev. George White, 3d edition, New York, 1835, p. 670, which took place in Walker County, Georgia, between Chatooga and Chicamauga. The ball was thrown up at the centre. The bats were described as curiously carved spoons. If the ball touched the ground the play stopped and it was thrown up again. Rev. J. Owen Dorsey in a paper entitled “Omaha Sociology,” printed in the Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, etc, 1881-1882, Washington, 1884 p. 230, p. 336, describes the game amongst the Omahas.]