The Ancient Game of Stickball

A Chickasaw Storytellers' Series

Before the measure of calendar years, stickball was called Little Brother of War, because it was used to resolve conflicts with other tribes instead of all-out war. Ancient stickball was more than a game: it was an integral part of Chickasaw society that encapsulated all aspects of the culture, with the best players gaining status within their communities. After the game went underground in the 20th century, when tribal culture was under attack, stickball has evolved in the modern era with a new generation of players, both men and women, bringing attention to this ingrained part of Chickasaw culture.

Winter Fire: The Ancient Game of Stickball documents both ancient and modern eras, while exploring the connection between tradition and the people who keep it. While stickball’s role in Chickasaw society has evolved, the ferocity and intensity of the game live on today with men, women and youth teams. Chikasha Toli' is becoming a competitive force and a new generation of stickball players now embrace the game of their ancestors and the preservation of this age-old tradition.