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Learn Ancient Winter Native Games at Lakota Games on Ice

Centuries Old Lakota Games on Ice
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The Metzger family, Masoudra, her husband Jordan and their three children, were among the 20 people who learned about Native winter games played more than 1,000 years ago at the annual Lakota Games on Ice.

They played Hutamacute, Pteheste and Paslohanpi, which are sliding games. The goal in all three activities is to slide an object as far as possible on smooth ice. For Hutamacute, participants slide a buffalo rib. In Pteheste, players slide an object that looks like an arrow with a buffalo horn tip. And for Paslohanpi, competitors slide a shaft of ash, with a buffalo horn spear point, along the ice.

Jordan Metzger tried all of the games, and had his farthest throw in Paslohanpi.

"This year I only got it to go about 100 yards," Jordan told ICTMN, adding that his best toss last year was considerably farther. "The ice wasn't really that smooth this year."

"It was a lot of fun," said Masoudra Metzger, who opted to watch the rest of her family try their hand at the various games. "And my kids like learning about different cultures."

The Metzger’s are not Native, but they live near the Mitchell Indian Prehistoric Village, where the games took place, and her kids—3, 5 and 7—like learning about different cultures.

"We're trying to build awareness," said Cindy Gregg, the executive director of the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, in part explaining the reason for Saturday's Lakota Games On Ice. "We're trying to show people (Natives centuries ago) were just like us now. They had fun as well."

Outside the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, located in Mitchell, South Dakota, the games, which were free and offered to people of all ages, were presented by Mike Marshall, 55, of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux. He travelled nearly three hours from his home to spearhead the event.

Gregg said others travelled even farther just to take part. "We actually had a family of four come up from Omaha, Nebraska, because they heard about this event and they wanted to take part," she said. "They drove four hours each way to come out for this."

Due to some nasty weather in Mitchell on Saturday, however, Gregg said she did not know if anybody would bother showing up for the event. As it turned out, about 20 people did.

"That's pretty good considering how cold it was," Gregg said estimating the temperature was in the mid-to-low 20s (degrees Fahrenheit.) "And the winds were 40-50 miles per hour. It was brutal."

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