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Students learn about Native sport

Lilly Ross, a student at Carl Albert High School, practices stick ball last week during a demonstration by the Chickasaw Nation at Midwest City High School’s practice football field. PHOTO BY STACEY BOYER

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Stickball has been played by Native American tribes for centuries.

Mid-Del students learned about the traditional game last week during a demonstration by the Chickasaw National public education program at Midwest City High School.

Students learned about the history, cultural significance, and rules of stickball, before playing a game.

The stickball program was hosted by Mid-Del Schools Indian Education Department. It was initially open to native students but later expanded to all middle and high school students in the district, said Sheril Thompson, director of the Indian Education Department. About a dozen students took part in the demonstration.

“They (Chickasaw Nation) spoke about the history of the game and showed the students how to play,” Thompson said. “They can play with five players or one hundred players and each tribe has different rules.”

According to the Chickasaw Nation website, stickball has been handed down from generation to generation and was historically played to settle conflicts over land and politics between tribes. 

Today, stickball is still played by several tribes including Chickasaw, Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek). Players take turns throwing the ball down the field that has two poles or sticks at each end. Stickball sticks have a rounded end and are used to hurl the ball down a field toward teammates who hit or touch the pole to score points.

Chickasaw Nation’s public education team regularly visits schools across the state. The group will provide professional development for Mid-Del educators later this summer.

Thompson said they’re also planning another stickball demonstration in the fall.

Mid-Del students learn about stickball, a traditional game played by Native American tribes in the state. PHOTO BY STACEY BOYER

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