Published on April 21, 2014 by Carol
Natives of different groups have their own special ways to play the Wheel & Dart game, but in all the games a person tosses a dart of some kind at a circular hoop. As in this version of the game, the cornhusk wheel tossed out onto the ground in front of the players, and the people take turns throwing their darts at it. In other versions of the game the hoop is hung from a tree, or the hoop is rolled along the ground, set into motion sometimes by a third player, while the two other players toss their darts as the hoop rolls in front of them. The score depends on how or if the dart falls on or through the hoop.
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Some wheels like this one are made from bundled corn husks, cedar bark or other plants and are wrapped with rawhide or colored yarn, and some with beads attached to the inside to divide up the ring. Other hoops are made by just bending a branch into a circle and tying the ends with rawhide. Some hoops use rawhide lacing stretched across the hoop to divide it in two halves or into quarters. And many hoops have a web of string woven onto them, which divides up the hoop into different sections and shapes like squares, rectangles and triangles.
These ingenious darts are made from corncobs, sticks and two feathers. The corncob darts have traditionally been made by the Hopi of Arizona and the Zuni of New Mexico. The corncob is first pierced with a pointed stick a few inches long from one end of the cob. Into the other end of the cob, two wing feathers are inserted into the whole. When this dart is tossed the feathers pull on the air cause the dart to spin like a pinwheel!