January 23, 2014

Hand Games Tournament a cultural competition

By Jerry W. Kram

Drums resounded in the cafeteria of the Edwin Loe Elementary School in New Town as competitors stared intently at the faces of the opposing team, looking for the smallest twitch of an eyelid or quiver of a lip that could betray the thoughts and reveal the whereabouts of the marked bones.

That was the scene of the second annual MHA Nation High School Hand Games Tournament. Parshall won the initial tournament in 2013 and the Bone Crusher team of Allison Moran, Asa Jo Deane, Minnie Two Shields and Houston White Bear defended the school’s title. They managed to eliminate the Zaggitads (Not Good) team from New Town but couldn’t overcome the Madaydagi (Buffalo) team from New Town of Kobe Morsette, Collin Mossett, Kolby Lone Bear-Smith, Braiden Standish and Ryan Bagley, who went through the double elimination tournament undefeated.

"We have different events throughout the year that promotes language and culture," said Jennifer Young Bear, a cultural specialist with the MHA Education Department. "The High School Hand Game Tournament is one of those events. Parshall won the event last year, but New Town will have the bragging rights for the coming year.

Each of the schools on the reservation were invited to participate in the tournament. However, the tournament originally scheduled for December was postponed because of bad weather and only three teams – two from New Town – were able to participate.

"A lot of the students who are interested in hand games are also in sports," Young Bear said. "Right now there are a lot of sporting events going on right now. But the ones who were here really enjoyed themselves. I think it is a good opportunity, especially in the winter months when we are all sitting at home to do something positive and fun."

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