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First Native American Lore Day In Mitchell

The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is the only archaeological site in the state that’s open to the public. Staff members get questions about Lakota history from tourists every summer, and this year they’re holding an educational event for the public. Native American Lore day includes stories, exhibits of historical items and a presentation from an expert in traditional games. 

Mike Marshall teaches traditional Lakota games at art markets, classrooms and other venues year-round. His lessons are different than the traditional Hand Games that are making a resurgence in the area. 

“That Hand Game is alive and well and they’re actually kind of reviving a form of stick game. That’s really one of the one and only games that has stayed alive. So some of the other games that I do like, say the Deer Toe game or Sliding the Buffalo Cow Horn game, they’re kind of lost to history.”

Marshall says games are an important part of Lakota culture. He makes all types of traditional art and says recreating the games is another outlet for creativity. One of his most popular is called Spinning Tops.

“Obviously it's a top, and along with it you have a top whip. It’s mostly played by the boys. Definitely in the olden days-it was a winter game. You need a good surface.” 

Marshall says people would make the tops out of wood, stones and antlers, then use a stick with whips attached to keep them spinning. He says there are plenty of games to play with these pieces. 

“The one I mostly show is called Fighting Buffalo where all the boys would get their tops spinning and keep it spinning with the top whip which also gives it direction. What you’re trying to do is knock down the other tops. So the last top standing would win.” 

Marshall says he gives weekly presentations on the Rosebud Reservation and has teamed up with the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village for nine seasons. 

“I know in the past we’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of people have come through. So it’s always a good program when I go to Mitchell.” 

Native American Lore Day events start at 10 on Saturday morning.