RAPID CITY, SD--New to this year's LNI activities is the Hand Games Corporate Citizen Challenge, where 10 community teams squared off Friday morning in the traditional Native American guessing game.
The largest event at the LNI each year is not basketball but the Hand Games competition. This year's competition offered the community the opportunity to experience the popular competition.
Teams competing against each other included the Rapid City Fire and Police Departments, Jim Scull Construction and Robert Scull Construction, Visit Rapid City and the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce; Security First Bank and Black Hills Community Bank; and the City of Rapid City and Pennington County.
Teams sat across from each other and Lakota students and teachers instructed the teams on the basics of the game.
The hand games competition involves two sets of bones or sticks, one marked and one clear, that two hiders conceal in their hands while the opposing team's guesser chooses the hand holding the marked bones. Hand signals are a huge part of the action and can include the audience contributing hand movements designed to distract the opposing team's guesser. Each team begins with eight bones or sticks and correct guesses can build a team's stockpile with the opposing team's sticks.
Each of the bone sticks represents one of the spirits in the Lakota creation story and are often created from deer, elk or buffalo bones with a paint line designating the marked bones. Competitions are often accompanied by drummers and singers performing special songs.