The hand game seems to have been the Indians' favorite amusement, and the annual feast was always the occasion of one of these tests of skill. Four bones about four inches long fashioned from the shank of the deer were used. Two of these were wrapped about the center with black fern root, the other two being left in their natural state. A fire was built, a game-keeper appointed, and the opposing teams, usually consisting of four or five of the best players from a tribe, took seats on the ground facing each other from opposite sides of the fire, their knees covered with a robe. Another robe was spread on the ground between them on which was placed the stakes, consisting of baskets, clothing, bead-work, weapons and other articles. The game-keeper was provided with ten small sticks of willow with which he kept score. The pieces of bone were then passed, under cover of the robe, from hand to hand or from one to another of the players, who, while this was being done, shouted at the top of their voices some favorite song. When these manipulations were finished the opposing team attempted
to guess what hand the bones were in, receiving for each correct guess one of the tally sticks from the gamekeeper. The bones were then passed to the other team and the process reversed, continuing thus until one team was in possession of all of the ten tally sticks. The gamekeeper received a stipend from each pot as payment for his services.
Even yet there is hardly a day during the summer months that one cannot find this game being played in the Indian camp. It is a favorite pastime of the children who use the small coins given them by visitors, and on the occasion of the Indian Field Day which is held in the Valley during the fall months of each year, and to which Indians from all over the state flock by the hundreds, big games are held, sometimes continuing without break for three or four days and nights, as fast as one player dropping out another taking his place. At these games money is generally used, and pots running into the hundreds of dollars are not uncommon.