MY PROUD NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE SPONSORED BY KOASEK NATION
The first four photos are from our Snow Snake Games in Randolph, Vermont at a non-members rented lot on 16 Feb. 2008. This was the first Abenaki Snow Snake held in several hundred years. My Grandchildren, Rebecca, Tim, Amanda and Hannah were in the games and are in the group photo with the Snow Snakes they made with their grandfather, me. Next is our vendor tent at the Koasek pow wow in 2007; my personal Native American Logo; My grandkids at the MCNAA (Massachusetts Center For Native American Awareness) Pow-wow in 2005 in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Also, there are other photos from other activities, K.W.A.I. Camp, Regaila Clesses, etc.
Snow Snake Games Again: 20 Feb. 2010 - Veterans Hall, Thetford, Vermont
You are all invited to partake in our Abenaki Traditional Snow Snake Games being held at the Veterans Hall in Thetford , Vermont on 20 Feb. 2010 starting at 1PM.
Please bring a pot luck item for lunch along with your homemade Snow Snake.
We have a lot of fun, so dress warm and prepare to laugh and exchange bragging on who’s Snow Snake is the best looking. This is a family even so please do not miss this event.
Snow snake game...TSOHEAC
A winter game played by the Abenaki was called the Snow Snake. Most Abenaki snow snakes were hand carved pieces of wood, usually hickory or ash, that were approximately 18-24 inches, although some Wabanaki tribes made snow snakes that were up to 6-7 feet long. Among the numerous shapes are two main varieties, the spoon mouth – M’quon which is about 2 feet long and flat at top and bottom with one end concave like the bowl of a spook and the snake head – Atoosis which is long slender and round with one end resembling a snakes head and the other pointed. There is also the Skegaweis which is flat underneath, round on top and about 2 feet in length and the P’tgukwholok which is the largest of all and is from 5 to 7 feet long and nearly round with both ends raised slightly and pointed.
The game begins...
If someone wanted to start a game of snow snake he would run through the village calling out that a game would be played. Soon all those who were interested in playing would join him each bringing their own snow snakes. Then one or more of the players would take a log approximately 3 inches in diameter and drag it through the snow to form a path for the snakes to go down. Often time the game was played at a place with a hard flat crust of snow so that the snow snakes would glide easily on top.
Each player would line up and take a turn throwing his or her snow snake. The snow snake was thrown in a motion similar to that of skipping a stone on water. Once your snow snake stopped it was stuck up in the snow beside the path at the place it stopped to show the distance. The snow snake that had gone the furthest was the winner. Among the Penobscots sometimes the winner would win all the other snow snakes. He would then gather up all the snow snakes, yell out and toss them all into the air. Then the other players would rush to get their snow snake, or the one they thought was the best. Today the teams play for fun although the Haudenosaunee in NY compete for prizes.
Making snow snakes...
The designs presented here are adapted from published Maine examples. These projects can be made using dimensional lumber and require little carving expertise.
For shorter snow snakes:
1. Hardwood lumber 1" X 1/2" X 40"
2. Carving tools (Pocketknife and hand plane)
1. With a pocketknife or any other carving tools, whittle the snowsnake head to one of the shapes shown in the pictures above.
2. With a hand plane carefully plane the rest of the snowsnake to a triangular cross section.
3. Taper the end and sand the snowsnake.
4. If you wish add designs you can carve in the head design and body designs with a small gouge or wood burner.
5. Final sand, stain and varnish the snowsnake. The varnish helps to keep out moisture as well as give the snake a smooth glassy finish so it will glide faster. Ski wax may also be used.
For a longer Snow Snake:
1. 8 foot long 2x2 or 2x4 board
2. Carving tools (Pocketknife and hand plane)
The board should be sawn and sanded down so it is from 5 to 7 feet long with a 4 inch long head. The snake should be about 3/4 to 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch high for the length of the body. The head should be from 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. Using a 2x2 firring strip as the blank works well, or rip cut a 2x4.
The underside of the snake is rounded and the back is flat. The bottom of the head should slope up like the front of a snow ski.
Each snake should be well sanded, especially the bottom. Then, varnished for a smooth finish. For extra detail and design you can also try wood burning some symbols onto it!
You can also create a larger 2x2 snake by cutting a 2x4 down the middle leaving a head at each end.
Here is a great resource for multiple crafts, but specifically you can go to the tab for Joe "Hugga" Dana to view his snow snakes.
A Sports Illustrated article on Professional Snow Snake games:
Koasek Abenaki Nation Website: http://koasek-abenaki.com
Native American Arts Award
My cousin Don Standing Bear of Alaska just received the Judges Choice Award for his Wampum Belt. We are very proud of him and below is his bio. Congratulations Don. Above is a photo of him and his award with his Wampum Belt.
St. Regis Wampum Belt
My name is Don Standing Bear Forest,
amamember of the Sou’West Nova Metis of the
Confederacy of Nova Scotia Metis. My heritage also includes Mi’kmaq, Huron, and Abenaki, from the Northeast of Turtle Island.
Wampum, such as I used in this belt, was
by my peoples in documenting historical events, adornments, and trade. This St Regis belt is 5 inches wide by 38 inches long, and is an exact replica of the original belt from the 1600’s. The beads are deep purple, and white glass beads woven together with deer hide.
I selected the St.Regis belt to recreate, because of it’s powerful message, the importance of walking the straight path. This is a “record belt”, meaning that it recorded some event. This belt is also called the Seven Nations Belt.
This belt represents the union of the Seven Nations: Mohawk Band at Lake of Two Mountains, Algonquin Band at Lake of Two Mountains, Nipissing Band at Lake of Two Mountains, part of Caughnawaga Band, Oswegatchie Band, Hurons of Lorett, and Abenakis of St. Francis. The crooked line at the bottom represents that they were crooked (Roman Catholic). Their path is not straight. They have forsaken the Great Law and gone to the land of the cross, Canada.
This belt embodies the pledge of the seven Canadian Chrisitianized nations to abandon their crooked ways and to keep an honest peace. It was given to the Five Nations to mark their submission to the power of the Iroquois Confederacy, with a promise of peace.
I have been weaving wampum for 12 years under the guidance of Mohawk wampum artist, Lynn Estes, of Massachusetts. It is my passion. My vision is to recreate the original belts which are currently held in museum archives, so that they can be displayed for public education on this old art form.
The photo of the quilt is a photo quilt presented to my close friend Natalie Costa, made by her daughter Vickie at the July 2009 Wampanoag Mashpee Pow Wow. They included one photo of Leslie and I along with their family and friends. I will treasure this forever.
Steve My Friend Simon Ed.S, Professional counselor, educator, & RC Deacon
Kotori-name given by a Me'tis grandmother of Quebec and approved by an Abenaki sub-cheif, now Koasek Chief Paul Bunnell. Steve is in his Traditional Dress, proud of his Cajun/Acadian/Metis Bloodlines.