Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/310

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

while acting in that capacity. The reason why women are forbidden to be present is because they always foment troubles between the players, and create confusion by taking sides and provoking dissention. I once asked Gian-nah-tah why the Apaches were such fools as to risk all they had in gaming. "Why," said he, "what difference does it make? They never play with any but Apaches; fortune will not always stick to one person, but continually changes. What is mine to-day will belong to somebody else to-morrow, while I get another man's goods; and, in course of time, I once more own my old articles. In this manner each successively owns the property of all his fellows." To argue against this style of reasoning, by pointing out the vice and immorality of gambling, would only have subjected me to derision and contempt, and as I am not a missionary—especially one of the self-sacrificing class—I received his explanation with every mark of favor. The women have several games of their own, in which the men never mingle; but when cards are used, everybody takes a share in the business.

Racing on foot is another diversion frequently resorted to by these active, restless Indians, and the women generally manage to carry off the palm, provided the distance is not too great. The officers at the post offered a number of prizes to be competed for, the fastest runner to take the prize apportioned to the distance for which it was offered. The longest race was half a mile, the next a quarter, the third three hundred yards, and the fourth one hundred. It was open for men under forty years of age and over fifteen, and for girls from fifteen up to twenty-five. About a hundred Apaches and Navajoes entered for the prizes, and practiced every day for a week. At the appointed time everybody in