History was made on October 15, 2022 as four indigenous tribes gathered on traditional Muscogee Land, where the Atlanta BeltLine is now situated, to play Indigenous Stickball for the first time in over 200 years.
Organized by Chickasaw and Choctaw member, Addison Karl, in collaboration with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and Emory University, the Southeast Woodlands Stickball Summit brought together delegations from Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Mississippi came to showcase one of the oldest sports in North America, which was historically played by the Southeast Woodland nations of the United States. The summit welcomed players from the Muscogee Nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Chickasaw Nation, and the Mississippi Choctaw Nations for three live exhibition games at the Historic Fourth Ward Activity Field. Spectators were able to discover the history of the game through play, learn about its evolution through the different styles, and even participate.
“Stickball is so much more than a game, it’s like another language that our people use to communicate. This summit empowered us to bring together our nations and have exchanges that we haven’t had for years,” shared Dr. Natalie Welch, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and professor of sports medicine who moderated a panel discussion on stickball at Emory University during the weekend celebration. “It was beautiful to see individuals of all ages come together around a game that our ancestors had shared for centuries.”
Hear more about the Southeast Woodlands Stickball Summit: