Ottawa Chapter - The Archaeology of Gambling: Identifying Social Networks through a Shared Fluency in Games

  • September 20, 2018
  • 7:30 PM
  • Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues near Cumberland

Registration

Speaker: Dr. Gabriel Yanicki
Topic: The Archaeology of Gambling: Identifying Social Networks through a Shared Fluency in Games

The many traditional games played by First Nations across North America are not matters of mere recreation. Most games of skill and chance were played by adults rather than children, were accompanied by high-stakes gambling that was often intertribal in character, and took place whenever large numbers of people gathered. Reviewed in this talk are three games—the hoop-and-pole game of the Northwest Plains, women’s dice games of the 13th-century Great Salt Lake, and the “ice glider” game of the Missouri Coteau—that show how shared gaming traditions across great geographic distances can serve as a proxy for social networks, offering evidence of contact, trade, and demographic change.

Gabriel Yanicki is Curator, Western Archaeology at the Canadian Museum of History.  His work specializes in the archaeology of intergroup contact, ranging from the Late Pleistocene ice-free corridor to the fur trade era, and especially through the lens of traditional gambling games.

He is the author of Old Man's Playing Ground: Gaming and Trade on the Plains/Plateau Frontier, published jointly by the Canadian Museum of History and the University of Ottawa Press. 


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