Cover of NMAI Summer 2016

Vol. 17 No. 2Summer 2016

On the Cover: With the world againturning attention to the Olympics, thisissue celebrates the long and rich historyand remarkable continuity of Nativeathletics, from the hip-ball players ofancient Mesoamerica, to Iroquois runnersto Polynesian mariners. Team sports werecentral to indigenous communal life longbefore Columbus, let alone the NationalFootball League and its first president,Jim Thorpe. The Mayan ball player on thecover still has counterparts in several smallvillages in Mexico. The player’s outfit,the fajado, still serves the same function,although the elaborate hip-guards of theMayan player have been replaced by stripsof automobile tire.

In This Issue

Woman staring at art in LaTocha Installation

Athena LaTocha

The Alaska-born artist works ink into paper with a variety of found objects, including tire strips, but excluding brushes, to fashion huge artworks inspired by the majestic landscapes of her youth.
Ulama players standing together

Ulama

Possibly the oldest team sport in the world, the game played by the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh lives on in several small villages in Sinaloa, Mexico. Researchers are hoping to save it from extinction.
Dr. Craig Thomas at the helm of Hōkūle‘a

Awe Ua Hiti E!

In 1976, the Polynesian Voyaging Society launched its sea-going outrigger canoe, the first built in Hawaii in centuries, to show how Pacific islanders explored and settled the vast expanse of their ocean. As the craft visits the United States on the last phases of a dramatic four-year, round-the-world voyage...
Historical artistic rendition of Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett

Great Iroquois Runners

The messengers who traversed the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, often carrying diplomatic dispatches embodied in wampum belts, were forerunners of the champion long-distance athletes Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett (1830–1896) and Tom Longboat (1887–1949). Bringing the history full circle, Longboat and other First...

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