Native American Technology and Art

Buzzer Game

Game image compliments of Waaban Aki Crafting
The buzzer is an amusement as well as a game of skill for Native American children across North America. Usually made of a flat piece of wood, pottery, gourd or bone. A buzzer ranges in diameter from 2 to four inches, with a deerskin thong or twined sinew strand twenty inches long doubled over and threaded through the two holes in the disk to be twirled.
Atsina Indians of Montana, Mono Indians of California, as well as the Oglala Dakota Indians use a knuckle or knee bone as a buzzer. Flat buzzers of wood are often engraved or painted with designs which create new patterns seen when they toy spins. The buzzer game is undoubtedly ancient in origin; prehistoric disks of stone or pottery with two perforations are not uncommon finds for archaeologists working in the Northeastern Woodlands. When properly spinning, the buzzers make a sound similar to the sound of the wind sighing.

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