Wisconsin, Madeline Island, Paul discussed on Native America Calling


Winter games. And you can join us of course. What native winter games do you enjoy? We'd love to hear from you. One 809 9 6 two 8 four 8 is the number of the call. That's also one 809 9 native. Joining us today from the lacunae reservation in Wisconsin is Paul demaine. He's the chairman of the board of directors of honor the earth and an organizer of the inner tribal nation snow snake festival. And he's from the United Nations of Wisconsin and of ojibwe descent. Welcome back to native America calling Paul. Good morning to native America. Joining us from red Lake Minnesota is Susan ninham. She's a teacher and games organizer. She's ojibwe. Welcome to native America calling as well, Susan. Hello, my relatives. Joining us from the headquarters of the Ho chunk nation in black river falls, Wisconsin is John Green deer. He's the health and wellness coordinator for the Ho chunk nation and first place winner of the zero to 54 category at the first inner tribal nation snow snake festival. He's Ho chunk. Welcome back to NAC John. Greet every one of you. And joining us from block to flambo Wisconsin is Wayne valor. He's a director of language and culture at the loch D flambo public schools. He's ojibwe and a member of the loch de flambo band of Lake Superior chippewa Indonesia. Welcome to the show Wayne. And manoa in the sonobe. Hello to all my fellow native people out there. And I'm happy to be on the show today. And thank you all all of my guests for those warm introductions. Paul, I'd like to have you kick off today's conversation. Hey, I watched some videos on YouTube. It's no snakes. It looks like a lot of fun. Tell us more about the game. Well, let me correct one thing because I know in the article and you said that to that, it was the first annual inner tribal snow snake festival and because the island has about an 800 to a thousand year history amongst the ojibway having one spin their capital and probably another 12,000 years of presidents by indigenous people from as far away as Ohio and cahokia, Illinois, I'm thinking that this probably wasn't the first annual, so it was one of the most wonderful experiences that I've been involved in in a long time. And of course, we've looked at the reemergence of this game and string games and indigenous sports across the country, the revival of lacrosse, the use of these games for the judiciary in some cases for settling disputes for entertainment reasons for honing your skills, perhaps going back to the days of javelin hunting. They seem to be very functional in many ways and they seem to be entertaining and of course mental health in the middle of a pandemic and being outside growing snow snakes with your relatives and friends with something that was really reinvigorating and we had a huge crowd. We started out a year ago talking about a handful of people coming together to throw a snakes and be an epic about it, returning this game to Madeline island and discovering all the words and other languages that go with it, the different types of snakes that are there, the different kinds of tracks, the different kinds of rules that you need to comply with either from a traditional point of view or a modern revision because essentially we didn't have a Madeline island, snow snake metal manual. So we kind of rewrote all our rules to accommodate all the people that came and the pulling together was tremendous. Dan ninham took the charge of organizing a consensus on rules and regulations and processes as white Susan took care to make sure that the things on site were being dealt with in terms of games and prizes and keeping track of things. So there was just a tremendous and John John who you got on here through the winning snake so he can curl around about that whole thing, but it was just an experience that was phenomenal and if anyone's told you about how the ice road, the one mile long ice road from the mainland to the island, opened up on Thursday night as people started arriving in that ten 38. We were told that there was an ice even people needed to get off and so everyone but me at 11 o'clock was off the island and my car got stuck there for about an extra week. I had all kinds of ways off the island, but that was a pleasant experience. Okay. Lost Paul. Yeah, Paul, are you there? Yes, I am. Okay, just lost you there for a moment or maybe it was on my end. I'm sorry, so anyway, Paul, thank you for that history, fascinating. This game goes back so, so many centuries apparently and so much culture behind it. So can you tell us a little bit more about the object of the game snow snakes? How has it played exactly? Well, if people have a chance to look at the video it's on YouTube, snow snakes on Madeline island, but the intent of the game is skill building. So in other words, people in this particular case are looking for distance in terms of their throws, we probably had 5 or 6 different types of snakes. We had mudcats, which are short, we had long javelin, snakes, we had snakes that are on ice snakes with a large head at the front. We had snakes that had pewter and lead in the front of them. And so we kind of cleared the track real early by saying that we would accommodate all different types of snakes, all kinds of different individuals on the crack. There was an on ice track that is flat on ice and cleared off and that was used by more of the amateur throwers and non competitive throwers, a wider track. And then there was a hoop track that bob schenck from red Lake brought over, which I had never seen ever before in my life. I heard of. And that intent was throwing snakes at a rolling hoop target as they roll that target that hoop on the other end. So there's a person on the other end. He rolls the oop in several people lined up on an ice cleared square throw snakes to try to get as close as that hoop are in the hoop with a different level of points for getting closer going through. So we learned quite a lot about the differences of games, the pointing of the game's individual throws, competition teams and we tried to really hear from everyone. I think we got a good start. We don't have everything. Our New York Seneca delegation got snowed in out in Buffalo so they couldn't come show off their highly professional skilled snow snake operation. They've been doing it for years and they are into intensely. So a lot of diversity, a lot of conversation, a lot of consensus making and a hell of a lot of fun. Well, let's hear from our zero to 54 age group category champion John Green deer. John, that's a pretty wide range of competition there, zero to 54. Tell us about your winning throw at the festival. What did it take to win that? I have no idea what it took. You know, one of the unique aspects of this game is there's so many variables you can have, you had mentioned the types of sticks and the snow and the skill. A lot of that has to come together and synchronize you can have a champion stick and it's just not connecting with the track well enough and I thought that was my curse for the weekend because I think in Indian country we always watched what we see and how we see it. And I think I crossed some lines early in the fall by talking a little smack with my brothers about this game and I was not really backing it up that whole weekend. I think I was only throwing like one 50 or one 60 at best and I would definitely have been in the youth category and it wasn't until that last thrill that thing just got some heat. So it was exciting. I was really I was really competitive going into it, but on the ice, my drive for competition was gone. It was like seeing people on a moped. They're always going to be smiling. They're always going to be enjoying life. On a boat and everyone was smiling the whole time. And you kind of forget about that and you find yourself cheering just as hard for your competitors as you do yourself. So I had an amazing time out there and then it wasn't until that last one. Even my daughter came up and just said, dad, you know, I was worried about you. You talked a lot of smack until today. So yeah, the energy was pretty high. I think I floated back to my hometown. The next day. So it was fun. So yeah, I'm going to wear it well. I'm going to raise that because the challenges are going to be out there. And I think that's what we need. I think that's really the shot in the arm that we have not had. In terms of whatever type of activity and competition that we have out there that is healthy and healing for our people in our villages. John, I want to thank you again on your championship, but I do have to say, I think you kind of lucked out with those brothers from the Seneca nation not being able to show up because I think you would have had a little bit more competition had they been there, but folks think we were going to have to take a break here in just a short minute. But again, we are talking snow snakes. We're talking winter games, native style, and we really want to hear from you. So give us a call. One 809 9 6 two 8 four 8. That is the number to call. Give us a holler. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you're doing in terms of winter games, how you're enduring these colder winter months and of course coming out of the pandemic as well. So lots of opportunities to go out there and have some fun. And we want to hear from you. My name's Sean.

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