Museum Talk

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Indian Artifact on display at Buffalo Island Museum in Monette.

Buffalo Island Museum has Indian artifacts found right here on Buffalo Island. Indians once roamed this ground that we walk on and there is a map at the museum showing the locations of known Indian settlements once in this area.

An interesting artifact is a discoidal, a round stone with indentations on both sides. After doing some research and checking library books, I found this stone to be used in an Indian game called chungke.

There are varying historic accounts of how the game was played, probably different from Indian group to group. But basically, teams were formed using two players at a time. One player rolled the discoidal down a playing field that was prepared by cleaning and smoothing the area and sometimes applying a layer of very fine sand. One player started rolling the discoidal with his long pole. Each attempted to block his opponent's pole with his own pole. Whoever hit the disc received a point and won the right to start rolling the discoidal again. The American Indians were much addicted to this game. Although it was for amusement, it kept the young warriors in great physical shape running after the stone for hours in the hot sun. This game of skill and chance served an important social role in the Indian community. The winner was often a celebrity in his tribe.

The discoidal was made by rubbing the stone smooth on the rocks and it was proudly given one generation to another. The stone was often exempted from being buried with the dead. They are always circular in shape but there is a variation in thickness and color of the stone. Some discoidals have a hole drilled in the center. The discoidal at the museum was found in the Monette area.

The Buffalo Island Museum is closed during the winter months, but we hope to see you when we open in the spring. Meanwhile, check the museum's Facebook page for more information and pictures.

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