An Ancient Bond with the Land

Trade Fairs


While feasting and visiting were important activities, a trade fair also involved other kinds of entertainment. Competitions such as foot races, ball-stick games resembling hockey, archery, and hoop-and-pole games drew large crowds. Some people engaged in intense gambling competitions where nearly everything might be won or lost. Men favoured sleight-of-hand games, where quickness and dexterity obscured the true location of gaming objects. Women played dice.

Young men and women took advantage of quieter areas for courting. Men tried to attract women with their high fashion, boldness and flute playing. Toward the end of the fair, the Nakoda might undertake a bison-calling ceremony and invite the Nuptadi/Nueta to join them on a communal bison hunt.

People playing the hoop and pole game. Contestants threw darts or "poles" at a webbed hoop which was rolled along the ground. Points were scored by getting the pole through the central hole or hitting the webbing.
Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
© Canadian Museum of Civilization

Hoop and pole game - Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque

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