The Triumphs of Stickball within the Native American Choctaw Nation

Overview and Objectives

This Learning Center provides the earliest historical references of Native American Choctaw stickball, an activity that has been a part of the Choctaw culture for hundreds of years. The first official account of the historic game was made by a Jesuit priest in 1729. At that time, the Choctaws lived in settlements located throughout southern Mississippi. When unpleasant issues arose between the individual communities, stickball games provided a peaceful means to settle the disputes. These hard-fought athletic games would involve as few 20 or as many as 300 players.

 Enduring Understandings:

  • The recreational game of stickball is a predecessor to modern day game of lacrosse.
  • Stickball has changed over the years in both practice and its role in society.
  • Traditional beliefs about stickball's origins affect the way the game is perceived in the past and the present.

Time required:

5 class periods (based on 50-minute periods).

Classroom resources:

Smart board

       Video clips of Native American Choctaw stickball tournaments

       Internet websites

       Stickball equipment

       Photographs of stickball teams (Choctaw Tribal Community teams) and games

       News and journal articles on stickball

       Stories on stickball

       Internet

       Map of Mississippi

       Measurement tools for calculating distance of the ball thrown from the sticks

 

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will map the history of stickball to the modern game of lacrosse.
  • Students will define the role stickball held and holds in Choctaws society.
  • Students will research how stickball influenced other Native American groups.
  • Students will learn traditional beliefs about stickball and their effects on the game from past to the present.