Slahal, also known as Lahal, is a game of gambling that originated with the native people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of the United States of American. Slahal also goes by many other names. These names include bonegame, stickgame, bloodless war game, handgame, and other names that are specific to the language of the indigenous people that are playing it.
Since its creation, this Native American game has spread from the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States to the Western United States and up into Canada. The name of this game comes from Chinook Jargon.
Chinook Jargon, which is also known as chinuk wawa, started as a pidgin trade language. This was mostly in the Pacific Northwest. In the 19th century, it moved from around the Columbia River to the areas where Washington and Oregon are currently located. The language then made its way to British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon Territory. This language is grammatically simplified and used by traders, trappers, missionaries and voyageurs in order to better communicate with the native tribes of the area. There are still parts of this language that are used today.
This game is played by groups that are split up in to two opposing teams. For this game, players utilise two pairs of bones. One of these pairs has a stripe painted on it. The other of these pairs is completely unmarked. In addition to the pairs of marked and unmarked bones, the game also has a set of ten scoring sticks. In some parts of the country where it’s played, there is also a “king” stick. This “king” stick is also known as a “kick” stick. It is an extra stick that is won by the side who has earned the right to begin the game.
For the game to start, each team divides the previously discussed scoring sticks between its members. One of the teams gets the four bones. Two members of that team then take one striped and one un-striped bone each and hide them in their hands. They then pass the bones from team member to team member, always keeping them hidden, while they sing loudly. It is now the job of the opposite team to guess which team members have the unmarked bones. Each time the team that is guessing guesses incorrectly, they have to give one of the smaller scorekeeping sticks to the team with the bones. Once the team that is guessing correctly guesses where both of the marked bones are, they are then given the bones and the game continues. The game is over once one of the teams has won all of the scoring sticks as well as the “king” stick. There is normally a jackpot that is then given to the winning team. Side bets are also paid out after the winning team is decided.
Slahal Hand Signals
In this game, hand signals are used to guess where the unmarked bones are. A finger pointing to the guesser’s right is a guess that both of the unmarked bones are to the left. Pointing to the guesser’s left is a guess that both unmarked bones are to the right. Pointing down is a guess that the bones are to the inside, and pointing with a thumb up is a guess that both bones are on the outside.