Sacred and secular play in gambling among Blackfoot peoples of Southwest Alberta

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McGowan, Virginia Margaret
Frank, Lois
Nixon, Gary
Grimshaw, Misty
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National Association of Gambling Studies
This study is concerned with cultural and experiential contexts that give meaning to gambling among Blackfoot peoples of southwest Alberta in western Canada. Using narrative and myth, the authors examined textual materials gathered from ethnographic and historical records, contemporary versions of Blackfoot myths told by tribal Elders, and autobiographies of Blackfoot individuals with a previous history of problem gambling. Social discourses, through which meanings are constructed, were identified in these oral and archival literatures and the lived experiences of Blackfoot gambling. These discourses indicate that sacred and secular aspects of play persist in contemporary Blackfoot gambling. Cultural themes in contemporary gambling practices and themes linked to the colonial experiences of Blackfoot and other First Nations peoples are discussed. The authors conclude that contemporary forms of gambling by Blackfoot peoples remain informed by traditional cultural practices and are influenced by social structural processes, including experiences of colonization. Implications for design of interventions are discussed.
Indigenous peoples -- Gambling -- Alberta , Siksika -- Gambling
McGowan, V., Frank, L., Nixon, G., & Grimshaw, M. (2001). Sacred and secular play in gambling among Blackfoot peoples of Southwest Alberta. In A. Blaszczynski (Ed.), The proceedings of the 11th National Association for Gambling Studies Conference, Sydney, 2001 (pp. 241-255). Alphington, Australia: National Association for Gambling Studies.