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Cherokee Games

The Cherokee people played games for fun, gambling, or settling arguments. There are some games still known and used today.

(A-ne-tsa) "Stickball" - A very rough game resembling our modern game of LaCrosse. Goal posts are erected on both ends of a long field. Players use ballsticks shaped like miniature tennis rackets and hand-made from hickory. A small ball, made of deer hair and hide, is tossed into the air by the Medicine Man.

The object of the game is to get the ball through the goal post with a wooden fish attached to the pole at the very top. The player scores when they hit the post or the fish. The amount of points earned depends upon where they hit. Very few rules apply, and biting, hitting, holding, gouging, and scratching are an accepted part of the competition. Each time a man is carried off the field his opponent must drop out also. No time limit is set and the rough battle continues until the proper number of points is scored by one of the teams. A score keeper puts pegs in the ground at the side of the field to keep track of the score. Stickball was also played during warfare and to settle disputes.

(Tsung-sy' unvi) "Marble Game" - This game is played with a disk made from granite, quartzite, or other fine-grained stone about six inches in diameter. A great deal of time was spent in shaping the stones and polishing them to a high luster. Two players carried poles eight to ten feet long. One of them rolled the stone across a smooth, prepared court. Both players ran after it, throwing their poles where they expected the stone to stop. The one being nearest to the stone when it stopped gained a point. It is thought that the game prepared young men for throwing the spear. High stakes were often gambled on the outcome.