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A Christmas Story

By Vivian Roberts

The Indian Leader, volume XXVI, number 14, December 29, 1922, published by Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas

Long ago when our forefathers were living they celebrated Christmas in a peculiar way.
On Christmas Eve the drums began to beat and continued till sunrise the next morning.
During this time all of the young warriors chanted weird songs. After sunrise all the women and girls gathered in a large tent near the center of the camp for the purpose of preparing a big feast for all the Indians. After the meal was eaten the old men of the tribe would tell Christmas stories of long ago. They spent the rest of the afternoon engaging in various contests. For a prize the boy would probably receive a bow and arrows decorated with buckskin and beads, or Indian paintings of games. Meanwhile the women and girls entertained themselves by playing games with brightly colored beads and shells.
In the evening after supper all the Indians would gather in the tent and all would bring presents of things in bead work, such as belts, moccasins, headbands, buckskin dresses, leggins and many different things that they wish to present to their friends and relatives. Some also brought baskets and mats that they had woven from the grass, weed, or bull rushes.
Maybe some great hunter would come in nearly at the close of the gathering and drag in a deer or wild game of some kind. They also appreciated gifts of this kind as food in those days was always sought after.
Finally, the Indians would bid each other good night and again the drummers would take up the drums and this time they would sing joyous songs, songs of victory, happiness, success, and plenty.