Sacred Texts  Native American  Cherokee 

The Cherokee Ball Play

by James Mooney

American Anthropologist, Vol. III (Old Series) No. 2 pp. 105-32.

Remarks On Ojibwa Ball Play


American Anthropologist Vol. III. (Old Series) No. 2. pp. 133-6.

The Cherokee Ball Play by James Mooney. 70,234 bytes, 332,710 bytes illustrations

Remarks on Ojibwa Ball Play by W.J. Hoffman

Among their other many cultural gifts to the world, Native Americans contributed the game which later became known as Lacrosse. The Cherokee Ball Play vividly describes the ethnography of this sport with particular attention to its ritual significance.

This sport served as means of community social cohesion, an occasion for some big wagers, a surrogate for battle with other villages, and sounds like a great deal of fun. Many of the ceremonial aspects will be familiar to anyone involved with High School football. Some of the practices required a very high tolerance for pain. On a spiritual level the game is a magical battle between shamans, and the rituals and ceremonies used to gain advantage are of great interest.

This monograph includes musical notation for some of the songs transcribed by none other than John Phillip Sousa.

A short monograph about Ojibwa ball play which was in the same volume as the Mooney article is included as an appendix.

I have edited this document slightly so that some language in the original document will not distract the modern reader. Five words have been substitued with neutral equivalents (in wavy brackets) and one word and one sentence have been omitted (indicated by ellipsis).

-- J.B. Hare