My mom runs a Title XII program
for Native American kids in our local school district, and last night we went to their spring gathering. The kids there were making pokean, which look like foot bags (commonly known as hacky sacks) or shuttlecocks, out of corn husks and feathers.
According to Ogden Nature Center, Pokean
is a game that was played by the Zuni
people, though similar games were enjoyed by other American Indian tribes. The basic idea behind the game is to hit the pokean with the palm of your hand and to keep it in play for as long as possible, not letting it hit the ground. I'll show you how we made them after the break.
- corn husks (you can buy a package of them in your local produce department, to make things simpler)
- sinew, preferably, or yarn
- craft feathers
- pony beads (optional)
Wet two corn husks thoroughly. Fold one in half lengthwise, then fold in half from top to bottom, so that it forms a rectangle. Set aside.
Fold the other husk in half again and again, until it's the size of a small stone.
Place the second husk on top of the first one. Fold the first husk over top of the second husk, making a pocket.
Use the sinew or yarn to tightly tie the two ends of the first husk together. Tie pony beads onto the end of the string. Trim the excess from the top of the bag that you've made.
Dip the ends of the feathers into the glue, then stick them into the top of the pokean.
Let your pokean dry, then start practicing!