Games for your mind

Anthropology: games and sport

Posted on: May 13, 2009

Indians_playingGames where invented and developed both in ancient and modern cultures.

In Indian tribes, games were a moment of confrontation and groups dynamics relationships were stimulated by game’s competitions. In ancient cultures, games where a moment of leisure and intense social activity, the tribe played collectively during special events like holy days or harvest festivals. In western modern cultures, board games become more and more part of the private sphere of the human relationships; people played them whit their restrict circle of friends or with their relatives, but like old tribal times, in the modern world board games are also played a lot during festivities like Christmas or Easter: this seems like a old tribal heritage.
Indians, for example, liked gambling and had as a mystic and fierce conception of the war, for this reason Slahal, a board game made in wood and bones, is one of the best war and gambling game ever invented by tribal ethnic groups.
Slahal is all about instinct and intuition and even luck: Two teams play each one with two set of bones one and the players have to guess right on the kind of bones (or sticks) hided in the hands of the direct opponent. If your guess is right you gain points while spectators or other contestants can gamble on each turn.
Native Americans where great with sports too, Lacrosse, the popular sport in USA is consider to be played by Indians for centuries: it was played like a transitional ritual to transform young boys in strong and mature men, and it was deeply connected with religion, Indians used to call it “The Creator’s Game”.
Now Lacrosse is still way to prove the young boys strength, in fact is played Lacrosse school and colleges across all the USA, especially in California, where Indians heritage and roots are strong.
If you good at Lacrosse in your school in USA in general you are well considered in your school and among your friends, so we can say that sports and games can change names, aspects and even rules during the years and among different cultures, but they still maintain, even if in different ways, their important function of social acceptance and their capability of shaping humans abilities and virtues.

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