Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99
Length: 83.000 cm
AOA 1977.Am28.13.a, b
Room 26: North America
Pair of wood and skin ballsticks, made by Jo Sulphur
Creek, around AD 1977
From Oklahoma, North America
The Creek stickball game was played in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries between two towns, each side with 62 players, with goals 400 metres (a quarter of a mile) apart. The game was considered as a substitute or replacement for war and played very enthusiastically, and even violently. The balls, of deer skin stuffed with hair, are thrown with sticks made of hickory, steamed and bent at the top, with skin thongs making the net.
The stickball game is still played by the Native peoples of the south-eastern United States. It is similar to lacrosse, as played by the Iroquois, which was introduced from Canada into Europe in the middle of the nineteenth century.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)