This game is usually played for the purpose of gambling, played either by two individuals, or by two sets of people often wagering all they have.
A large, rather shallow, symmetrical, nicely finished hemispherical bowl is one of the requisites; the others are the dice and the counting sticks.
The bowl is made from a large, round nodule of maple root, and is consequently a rare and expensive article for its size. It fashioned solely with the aid of an axe and a knife. A specimen at hand measures nine inches in diameter at the top and is two inches in depth. It is nearly one inch in thickness at the bottom, but gradually tapers to about one-fourth of an inch at the rim.
The dice consist of eight thinly cut pieces of deer-horn (or bone). These are marked with rather deep criss-cross grooves on one side which is also stained black, the other side being left its natural color. Four of these are round and about three-fourths of an inch in diameter. All of the dice are less than one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness. Two of the dice are knife-shaped, one and one-half inches in length, and one-fourth of an inch in width. Another is shaped like a gun, is one and one-fourth inches in length, and one- fourth of an inch in width. Another consists of the crude image of a person and has eyes and mouth marked on the unpainted side. It is one and one-half inches in length, the width being about one-half inch at the shoulders.
The counting sticks are eighty in number. They are about a foot in length and one-fourth inch in thickness. They are usually made of trimmed sticks of spruce or other wood, though twigs are sometimes used. Half are colored black, and the remainder red. The sticks are placed between the players in two piles when the game is about to be played, one pile belonging to each side; or sometimes the sticks are placed all in one pile. In the first case, the winner draws directly from his opponent's pile for every count he gains. In the second case, both players draw from the central pile till it is used up; then the winner draws from his opponent's pile until it is all taken. The player (or set of players) who gets the eighty counting sticks in his possession has won the game.
When the players sit down to play, the bowl containing the dice is placed on a blanket between them. Bets are then made. Then the player who won the last game begins the game with a song. If no previous game has been played, lots are cast to see who will play first. Then, at a propitious moment, the player strikes the bowl on the blanket by lifting it slightly and setting it down with a quick jerk. This causes the dice to fly upward and fall back in various positions, some of the faces becoming reversed, which, of course, changes their counting values. As they settle to the bottom of the bowl, the result is watched with keen interest. The play is continued in this manner until the game is won.
The following are the rules for counting points:
Terms used in the game of bowl:
Albert B. Reagan and F. W. Waugh (1919) Some Games of the Bois Fort Ojibwa. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1919), pp. 264-278
The Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 ( M595, 692 rolls) contains census rolls that were usually submitted each year by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, as required by an act of July 4, 1884 (23 Stat. 98). The data on the rolls vary, but usually given are the English and/or Indian name of the person, roll number, age or date of birth, sex, and relationship to head of family. Only persons who maintained a formal affiliation with a tribe under federal supervision are listed on these census rolls.
Jean Baptiste Charette (1804-1894) was born on the prairies near Pembina, North Dakota, to Jean Baptiste Charette Sr., a French Canadian voyageur from Quebec, and Charlotte Sansregret, an Indigenous woman (of Pembina Band Ojibwe ancestry) who was born in Manitoba.
He was first enumerated in the census in 1838 at Red River Settlement. Shortly thereafter he married Angelique Petit, daughter of Thomas Petit Thomas and Marguerite Daunais, circa 1839 at Red River Settlement. They were counted on the 1840 Census of the Settlement. By 1850, Jean Baptiste and Angelique were living in the vicinity of Pembina. They were counted on the 1850 census for Pembina County, Minnesota Territory.
Jean Baptiste had a rather large hunting range, going as far west as Wood Mountain and Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, where he spent several years as a hivernant (over-winterer), living as a hunter and trapper with his growing family and the hunting brigades of these areas who were mostly Pembina Ojibwe/Metis who also had ties to the Turtle Mountains and St. Joseph (Walhalla) and would occasionally return there for birth and baptisms (when possible).
During the Lake Superior Ojibwe Treaty of 1854 at Lake Superior, Jean Baptiste was issued scrip as a Pembina Band member. J.B. Bottineau testified that: “I think he is the same as John Bte. Charet (sic), who has and is now residing at Saint Joseph, Pembina County, Dakota; a mixed-blood of Pembina band, I think, and over 50 years of age.” During the 1863 Treaty at the Old Crossing between the Red Lake and Pembina Bands, Jean Baptiste was again issued scrip as a Pembina Band member, issued as Scrip Number 49, February 12, 1873, for 160 acres.
Following the death of his wife Angelique, he married Josephte Monet dit Belhumeur, daughter of Michel Monet dit Belhumeur and Josephte Sauteuse, on 13 Jan 1868 at St.Joseph, North Dakota. Josephte was reputed to be the granddaughter of the first Chief Little Shell, father of the signer of the 1863 Treaty. He later received Treaty annuities in 1871 at Turtle Mountain, under the Little Shell III band members list.
He applied for Canadian scrip as a Metis under the North West Half-Breed Commission. In his testimony, he stated his claim as follows: “I lived with my parents at Qu’Appelle River, Fort Ellice, Red River, and at Six Hills for 30 years. I then was married and became a plains buffalo hunter, living on the plains. On the 15th of July, 1870, I was living at Wood Mountain and continued as a resident of the territories until some 3 or 4 years ago where I was living on Plum River about three miles across the line.”
During the 1880 census, he and Josephte were enumerated as living at Pembina, and by 1886 they were living at Turtle Mountain Reservation and were counted on Indian Census rolls for the Band, including the 1892 McCumber half-breed rolls.
He died on 12 Oct 1894 at Belcourt, North Dakota, and is buried in the old cemetery behind St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
His children included the following individuals:
Alexandre Charette (1841–1930)
Jean Baptiste Charette (1842–1892)
Marguerite Charette (1845–1880)
Marie Anne Charette (1848–1878)
Joseph Charette (1850–????)
William Charette (1852–????)
Adelaide Charette (1852–1932)
Mathias “John” Charette (1855–1937)
Francois Xavier Charette (1857–1958)
Xavier Charette (1859–1860)
Moise Charette (1862–1930)
Eliza Charette (1863–1937)
His descendants today can be found among the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, Little Shell Band of Chippewa, and in Metis communities in Manitoba, North Dakota, and Montana.
Notes: Drawing of J.B. Charette comes from Cinq mois chez les Français d'Amérique: voyage au Canada et à la rivière Rouge (Five months among French Americans: trip to Canada and to the Northern Red River) by Henri Félix de Lamothe. Hachette et al. , 1880 - Canada.
Genealogical information by Gail Morin (https://www.amazon.com/Gail-Morin/e/B001K80U1U)