Cherokee Games

Cherokee StickballCherokee Games

Stickball – Traditionally, the object of the game was to toss the ball between two posts at the end of a playing field. The version played today by the Oklahoma Cherokee requires the players to hit a wooden fish atop a pole located in the center of the playing field by throwing the small ball with the ball sticks. The number of participants can vary.

During the earlier games, hundreds may have played.  Rules are different for men and women. Stickball was a very competitive and rough game. The Cherokee used it not only as a casual sport, but also as an alternative to war. It was a way of settling disputes, perhaps between villages or tribes.

Chunkey – All of the games made use of a smooth stone disk, usually with concave sides, and two long slender poles were used. Usually only two persons played at one time, but the onlookers wagered on the game. The idea of the game was to start the stone disk rolling along a smooth piece of ground, after which the two players threw their poles after it trying to hit the stone, or coming as near as possible to it, when the stone came to a rest. When the stone stopped nearest to one of the players’ poles, the count was according to the marks on the pole. The stones were considered very valuable, because they were very difficult to make out of the hard quartz. They were very perfectly finished, and never belonged the town as a whole.

Blowgun – Made from river cane with the inner membranes are removed with a long straight stick and then tempered and shaped over a fire until straight. The dart was made from a hard wood with thistle attached to one end. The blowgun was generally used for smaller game, such as squirrels and birds.

Cherokee Marbles – The marble game was one of the games the Cherokees were playing when the white man came. When the missionaries came, they made the Cherokee men quit playing the marble game and quit the heavy betting. The game was nearly lost because of this.