The Triumphs of Stickball within the Native American Choctaw Nation

Background Information

Stickball has been a part of the Native American Choctaw life for hundreds of years. The earliest accounts of stickball were made by a Jesuit priest in 1729. At this time, the Choctaw people lived in towns and villages scattered along southern Mississippi. When issues arose among the various towns, stickball games were used as a peaceful way of settling the disputes. These hard-fought competitive contests involved as few as 20 players and as many as 300 players.

Today, opposing teams use the hand constructed sticks or kabocca made from hickory, and a woven leather ball or towa made from deer hide to play the game. Each team attempts to advance the ball down the playing field to the goalpost of the opposing team using only the kaboccas. The towas are never touched or thrown. Points are scored when a player hits the opposing team's goalpost with the towa.

The rules and the layout of the playing field have been modified throughout the centuries of play. Today the game of stickball is one of the major components of the Choctaw Indian fair. The Choctaw communities compete for the championship title that will be displayed and discussed throughout the next year.