This week, work on the canoe relaxed so that Wayne could take advantage of the woodshop to start preparing equipment for the Ojibwe Winter Games (Ojibweg Bibooni-Ataadiiwin). The games take place every year at Lac du Flambeau, where school children participate in Ojibwe culture, playing games such as snowshoe races, spear throwing, and snow snake tossing.
The snow snake (gooniikaa-ginebig) is a spear-like object, topped with a carved snake’s head instead of a spearhead. The snakes are skidded along an alley on a frozen lake to see who can cast their snake the farthest. The snakes appear to slither as they slide. On Thursday, Wayne cut out the bodies of the snow snakes with the table saw and then cut out the heads on the band saw. Watch this video to see the process:
The scraps of maple wood left over from the snow snakes will be used to make spears (zhiimaagan), which are cast using an atlatl (apaginaatig). On Thursday, Wayne cut out the atlatls, drilled finger holes, and then sanded them to shape and smooth them. Later, a barb will be attached to the end of the atlatl, which is how the thrower notches the spear to the atlatl when using it. The atlatl works as an extension to the arm, increasing the force that the thrower can transfer into the spear when throwing it. Watch this video to see Wayne making one and demonstrating the throwing-action:
In addition to this equipment, Wayne will also be making lacrosse sticks (baagaadaweginaatig) this week. The games will be held in February and are open to the public, so stay tuned for updates!