What Is Indigenous North American Stickball? Google Doodle Celebrates Sport

What Is Indigenous North American Stickball? Google Doodle Celebrates Sport

Searching Google today, users noticed that the site had adapted the iconic logo to celebrate the local North American sport of stickball.

St. Paul's iconic Google logo design by Native American artist Marlena Miles celebrates one of North America's oldest team sports.

What is stickball?

Often compared to lacrosse, stickball was first played by several Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, and Euchee.

A Cherokee story describes the first stickball game played by land animals and birds.

The bear, deer and turtle were very confident that they would win the game because of their strength, but the bird team used speed and cunning to outwit the land animals and eventually won the game.

Traditional stickball games were often played over several days by 1,000 people from competing tribes. The game played a major role in keeping the peace and was often organized rather than violent.

In addition to settling disputes, it was also used as a practice to train young warriors for battle and as a supplement to the joy of festivals and holidays.

Today, stickball is still played by groups across North America. Players take turns throwing the ball into a field that has two posts or poles on each side. Stickball sticks have a rounded tip and are used to throw the ball across the court to teammates who hit or touch the stick to score points.

Each match begins with traditional rituals that often involve puffing or burning tobacco. This is meant to clear players' minds before the game starts.

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Although the rules and traditions of stickball have changed over time, the core of the game remains an important way for communities to stay close to indigenous traditions.

Why is Google celebrating Stickball?

In 1990, President George W. Bush declared November as Native American Heritage Month. Repeat President Joe Biden's October 31, 2022 statement.

Biden said. “Therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the United States Constitution and laws, do hereby proclaim November 2022 as Native American National Heritage Month.

"I call on all Americans and their federal, state and local elected representatives to celebrate this month with appropriate programs, events and ceremonies and to designate November 25, 2022 as Native American Heritage Day."

Google Doodle's November 1 stickball illustration celebrates the first day of Native American Heritage Month.

Illustrator Marlena Miles told Google: "I was excited to create something fun and meaningful and to teach a lot of people about an ancient indigenous game that is still played today."

After creating the imagery that Google now boasts in North America, Miles listened to interviews and documentaries to gain a deeper understanding of the game.

"It is a healing game for society as a whole," he explained. "People don't just play to win, they play for the health of their communities. Sports have played an active role in many of our tribes for generations and will continue to do so.”

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