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Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


CHILDREN’S GAMES

Four children’s games were recorded among the Central Miwok. One was a guessing game, upon which the children bet. The others were of a more active character.

Kusta (C). The guessing game was played by either boys or girls. A bit of charcoal was held in the two doubled fists, then hidden in one, and the arms folded. The opponents guessed in which hand the charcoal was held. Twelve sticks were employed for tally. Several children played on each side. One hid the charcoal in his hand. If he won he passed it to a partner. If he lost he passed it to the opposing side. This game is perhaps to be equated to a Southern Miwok game “called hu'-sa, in which one guesses which hand hides a hidden seed or nut.”111 Hudson, whom Culin quotes, does not state if this was a children’s game.

Ululu (C). A band of girls and boys formed a long line and made a wide circuit. First one sang and they turned in his direction; perhaps he would be at the end. Then another sang, perhaps in the middle. Then the hind and front ones tried to find him.

Onomu (C) was hide-and-seek, much as played by white children. The seekers (likuti, C) called out in a peculiar way. They hid their faces to give the hider a chance to secrete himself. The hider called out when the search failed. The last searcher to return had to be the hider. If the hider was found, he hid again.

Senuyu (C) was last tag. When playing children went home they “last tagged” each other. A “last tagged” person must not look at the tagger.

Playing children threw the stems of the rattlesnake weed, Daucus pusillus (yotcitayu, C), at one another, as the seeds adhere to clothing and hair.

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111Culin, 294.



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