Native American Jeopardy brings fun competitiveness


Ellis McGinleyCopy Editor

Thursday, Nov. 5, the Multicultural Center hosted “Indians Who Rocked the World,” a game of Jeopardy that taught participants facts about historic Native American culture.

The event was part of the university’s ongoing ‘Social Justice Month’, the theme of which is anti-racism.

November is also National Native American Heritage Month, which was described as celebrating in “Festival style.”

The university joins federal institutions, such as the Smithsonian Museums, National Park Service, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Association, and National Endowment for the Humanities in recognizing Native American Heritage Month.

Although the event was dubbed “Indians Who Rocked the World,” only one of the five categories focused on “Men and Women.” The others were “Tools and Weapons,” “Sports and Games,” “Food,” and “Clothes.”

About a dozen students attended and three teams participated in the game. Like classic TV Jeopardy, participants could choose from the five categories, each of which had questions worth 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 points. The team with the most points was eligible for a reward from the MCC.

The flyer advertised “prizes, gift cards, and much more.”

Healthcare studies major Ashley Coleman, a freshman, said “I thought the event was a great way to educate others and it was a nice break from a lecture.”

Simon Mcintyre, a graduate intern for the Center, hosted the game on WebEx. Diane Brown-Albert, coordinator of Multicultural Student Activities, supervised.

“[Native Americans] would dig trenches, then throw wooden snakes down them and see which got to the end first,” said Mcintyre, describing a winter game called snow snake.

According to the Jeopardy, Algonquin and Iroquois tribes played many games of chance.

Other answers included Samuel de Champlain, the Frenchman who fought with the Algonquin tribe against the Iroquois; squash, corn, and beans, or the “Three Sisters” crops which grow best together; and lacrosse, which was invented by Native Americans.

John Smith, an English captain, was also included in the “Men and Women” category.

“Kilts,” said Team Leeasya, when asked what type of garment Native American men wore. Team Ashley answered correctly: Native American men preferred leggings.

The question that seemed to stump players was “what types of eggs Native Americans ate”. Teams guessed chicken, turkey, snake, and reptile: the correct response was bird and turtle.

The answer did not specify which tribes this applied to.

Participants also learned about clothes such as moccasins, worn in warmer seasons, snowshoes, worn in winter, and Gustoweh, a traditional headdress made of strips of wood and feathers worn as part of indigenous regalia.

Regalia is usually worn by Native American dancers as part of powwows, ceremonies, and other events that may feature traditional dresses.

The questions focused largely on tribes of the Northeast, where games like snow snake originated. Another figure featured in the “Men and Women” category was Deganawida, or the Great Peacemaker, who is said to have founded the Haudenosaunee.

The Haudenosaunee, or League of the Iroquois, was located around the Great Lakes and, at one point, parts of Canada, Virginia, and Kentucky.

The university resides on what was once Wappinger, Paugussett, and Quinnipiac land; all three tribes spoke the Algonquin language, but were not associated with the League.

Connecticut still recognizes the Paugussett tribe as a historic tribe.

Team Ashley took first place with over 1,000 points earned. They were followed by Team Leeasya in second place and Team Niama & Shanie in third.

“I was really excited to learn more about the Native American Indians. I knew more than I thought I did and guessed on the rest,” said Coleman, the winner.

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