Cherokee Registry

What games do the Cherokee people use to play?

The most popular game played, even today, among the Cherokee people is the game of stickball. At one time it was called "the little brother of war" and played by the men of the tribe. It was used to settle arguments and disagreements. It was a very rough game used as an alternative to actual war. It is said that from this game is derived the Canadian national sport of lacrosse. Because it seemed so violent to those who were not familiar with the game or its purpose, it was outlaw by the United States government in the early 1800's. The man-on-man game was replaced with the pole-game and women were allowed to play. This pole-game is popular, not only among the Cherokee people, but also among many of the southeastern tribes and is still played today at many tribal towns and ceremonial grounds. Another game is the traditional marble game played on a five-hole course. The holes are placed thirty feet apart and shaped in an L-shape. (Four holes in one direction and one off to the left.) The marbles used today are billiards balls instead of the traditional stone marble. The two most popular versions of the game are the team game with four members to a team and "poison" where it is every man for himself. It seems that the ultimate goal is to be the final team or player left in the game. We have a Cherokee marble tournament which is played every year on the Cherokee Heritage Center grounds during the Cherokee National Holiday. Other games were played, too, including chunkey and hand games.