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Business | Ethnic Studies | Indigenous Studies | Sports Studies | Women's History | Women's Studies


Cherokee stickball amongst the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a sporting tradition that precedes written records. Historical and academic texts have focused on men’s participation in the sport. However, Cherokee women participated in their own stickball games as recent as a decade ago, and stories exist of women playing stickball in the late nineteenth century. Many in the community believe stickball should not be played by women and doubt evidence of women playing historically. Researchers sought to understand the intersectionality of gender and ethnic identity for female stickball players who took the field to play stickball at the turn of the twenty-first century. Through interviews and a focus group with Cherokee women who played stickball in the early 2000s, three themes arose: female kinship, proving they belong, and cultural connection. We hope to show how stickball fostered a sense of kinship and family, and we suggest that stickball provided these women with an opportunity to claim and connect with their Cherokee heritage in new and meaningful ways.

Document Type

Accepted Version


This article is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments. It is the accepted-for-publication version. The content of this version may be identical to the published version (the version of record) save for value-added elements provided by the publisher (e.g., copy editing, layout changes, or branding consistent with the rest of the publication)


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Annals of Leisure Research on August 9, 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/11745398.2019.1652104.

Original Citation

Natalie Welch
Making herstory: Cherokee women's stickball.
Annals of Leisure Research, 2019, volume 22, issue 4



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