Renee Roman Nose: Some history of the ancient game of Sla-hal

"Sla-hal, to Native people of today, is a game. Sometimes called stick game or bone game, a gambling game that once determined territory and settled disputes and where friends and family now come together to play, to sing, to laugh, and to compete. On May 5, it was featured yet again as people came together from many walks of life to share the discovery made by Dr. Carl E. Gustafson, validated by carbon dating in October of 2011, and celebrated by Tribal leaders and community members from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Seattle Pacific University was a gracious host for the gathering, which in typical Native fashion, included speakers from many nations, political and spiritual, as well as noted academics from Seattle Pacific University and other area institutions.

On May 27, 1987, Dr. Gustafson, or Gus as he prefers to be called, was part of a team that discovered something amazing. While it has taken decades to prove the validity of the find, a mastodon that was found very far from it’s usual territory, the real mystery was in what was found with the animal remains. Not only was there a spear point that has been proven to be man made and to have come from the bones of another mastodon, also found with the remains of the wandering animal were bones that have been positively identified by area Tribal members as Sla-hal pieces."

Get the Story:
Renee Roman Nose: An Oral History of the Ancient Game of Sla-Hal: Man Versus Animals (Indian Country Today 5/27)

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Washington tribes claim mastodon bones as link to culture (5/7)

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