A little background on Cherokee Stickball "ahnetsodi" ᎠᏁᏦᏗ This year we host a new stickball team to the festival, the Hummingbird Stick Ball Team or Wa-le-lv from Cherokee. The group has about thirty active members which should set the field for some lively games. Many historians have documented the tradition of Cherokee athletes visiting other villages to play a ballgame, similar to modern-day lacrosse games, often to settle disagreements. In contrast, rather than a simple sporting event Cherokee stickball was a highly ritualized and emotionally charged contest. The object of the game was to move a small, tightly wrapped, animal-skin ball, about the size of a half dollar coin, from the center of the field to the other team's goal line. Handmade hickory sticks with pouches were used to carry or throw the ball, although it could be carried anyplace on the body if need be. The first side to score 12 points wins the game. The stickball tradition continues to this day on the Qualla Boundary and as a featured element at the annual Cherokee Indian Fair.
Stickball games at Mountain Heritage Day will take place at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.