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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Native American - Woodland ➔ Snow Snake

Identifier:
2017.16.40
Description:
Snow snake. A long and narrow piece of carved, smooth, polished wood, approximately one meter long, with one pointed end and one slightly forked end. The pointed end, which is shaped like a snake’s head, is tipped with a perforated piece of metal, the edges of which are flush with the surface of the wood.

Snow snakes have been used by Native Americans for centuries to play a game, also called snow snakes.  The games involves making a narrow track or trough in the snow and then taking turns sliding a snow snake down the trough, attempting to slide the snake as far as possible.  The game takes significant skill to play well, as throws which are too soft won't travel a great distance, while those that are too hard may jump out of the track.
Date:
circa 1970
Materials:
Wood, Metal
Dimensions:
36 3/4"" h 1"" w 1/2"" d
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Source:
Gift of Gordon L. Olson
Links:
https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/learning-to-play-snow-snake-is-a-sacred-rite-of-passage/
http://indianbowlproject.org/ojibwe-culture/
http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/01/27_horwichj_snowsnake/
http://www.cherrygallery.com/journal/snow-snakes/
Exhibit/Program
Investigate: Toys & Games (June 2018)
During the Investigate program, students will take the role of Museum curators and use close observation and critical thinking to discover the origin, meaning, and importance of real objects from the Museum’s Collection. Students will learn how to handle and study primary sources and will be pushed to consider how singular objects or groups of objects can tell meaningful stories about our place.

Objectives:
  • Students will be able to analyze primary sources (artifacts and photographs) and make inferences about the story or significance of the sources.
  • Students will make inferences about the value or learning lesson of various toys and games that have existed across time and cultures.
Curriculum Connections:
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations; Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • MIchigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: H2 Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago, G4 Human Systems, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis

Maker/Donor
Gordon L. Olson
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