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Page 12 - Waltes, an Ancient Micmac Game

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/12/1 (1182 reads)

woway) toward the 6 points she must dance, raise the bowl and slam it. If after three casts by hand she failed to make a point, she can place the dice in the bowl any way she chooses, raise the bowl and slam it. Often, during the playing of Waltes, the players will slam and then wave a hand over the dice before they settle, giving them air and encouraging thera to come down in a scoring combination. During this part of the game, only the dancer can wave the hand. Also, all face-up or face-down, e-tkum-woway, counts as 3 points (not 5) when you are dancing. Tillie can win by making any combination of 6 points before Charlie makes 1 point. Here is a simple example of how debts might be paid. Remember, Tillie paid for e- tkum-woway (the stick in Charlie's hair) with an Old Woman (worth 5 points, but also worth 16 sticks). Had she instead paid with sticks it would have cost her only 15 sticks, the equal of the 5 points she owed. Then, let's say Charlie had 10 sticks (10 points) in his second pile, and called for a-bunkit-woway • payment. Tillie, if she had it, may have paid thus: an Old Woman plus 2 sticks to make 6 points (16 sticks plus 2 sticks equals 18 sticks or 6 points). To this she could add 12 sticks, making a total of the 10 points. In Waltes there is no final score, except that one player has everything and the other has nothing. There are some people with real skill at it, who can slam the bowl with such control they can get point-making combinations several times in a row. They wave their hands, giving the dice air, and they talk to the dice. In old times it was never played without stakes; today gambling at Waltes would be very rare. Some sources believe that the Old Women and the Old Man fit together into a kind of arrow, and that the bowl itself was important in Micmac legend as a kind of ark or boat for a journey. One source speaks of waltesigaan buoinwe, referring to its use in magic and foretelling the future. We can play the game • but it is clear that it contains meanings probably no one alive can relate to us • a game that in? cludes the Loon, the act of Sinking the Loon, and dancing, drifting over water. Our thanks to Mrs. Elizabeth McEwan, Kate McBwan, Mr, and Mrs, Wallace Bernard and Mr, and Mrs. Charley Herney • all of Membertou • for talking the time to teach us the game Waltes. Words used in this article to approximate the sound of Micmac should not be considered the correct spelling of those words. 'Se seillean a'phosas daoine ri lusan Flemming's Honey Truro and Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia GEORGE'S DAIRY But we DO try harder and we're still Number Four Quality Wool Clothing Hardy Amies Suits, Shirts & Ties Christian Dior Suits Viyella Shirts Hudson Bay Blankets & Jackets ? 303 Charlotte Street, Sydney Cape Breton's Magazine/12 A.L. MacEACHERN TRAILiR & CAMPER MANUFACTURING LTD. station Street, North Sydney Manufacturer of "Ranger," Travel Trailer, Pickup Campers, Mobil Homes & Offices and Toppers Complete ServiceandjRepairs All Sizes and Makes Complete line of Intertherm and Coleman Furnaces and Air Conditioners Also Service Center for DOMETIC and MORPHY RICHARDS Refrigerators THE LARGEST COMPLETE TRAILER SERVICE IN THE EAST Phone:794-7314 Evening Calls:736-3200 Write P.O.Box 121, Sydney Mines A.L* MAC EACHERN
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