Stick Gaming Pieces
The set of bones are pieces for a game still played throughout North America, the stick game. The rules are relatively simple. A player hides the bones in their hands and an opposing player only needed to guess which hand the opponent held the bone with the distinct decoration on it. As each person guessed correctly, the opposing team would win one of their twelve sticks. The team that garnered all the sticks won. The bones seen here have seen a great deal of use.
The game is often accompanied by singing and drumming on lodgepole pine logs in front of each team. As the opponent tries to “read” the bone in each hand, they are frequently distracted by the songs, the movements of the holder, and any other distraction including people’s wéyekin powers and the audiences gambling, throwing their money on their team at the same time.
This game can go on for hours. There are Nez Perce stories of men coming back from Buffalo Country with literally no shirt on their backs! A buffalo tipi in the Park’s collection
was actually won in gambling in a game such as this. In the
summer of 2005, 92 year old, Mylie Lawyer told
about when the men were out hunting buffalo, the women would
Bone. L 5.2, W 2.2 cm
Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 81