Stickball is one of the oldest sports in North America, historically played by multiple Indigenous Nations. Both men and women enjoyed the game for sportsmanship, mental health, medicine, and even political resolution. Gameplay and stickball sticks have been handed down from generation to generation, and the game continues to be played by native nations around the country.
The celebratory event welcomed four Native American delegations from Oklahoma, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Following an opening ceremony by the Muscogee Nation, players from the the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Chickasaw Nation, and the Mississippi Choctaw Nations will present three live exhibition games in the Historic Fourth Ward Activity Field.
Spectators discovered the history of the game through play and learn about its evolution through the different styles: Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw.
In conjunction with the afternoon of Stickball games, Emory University hosted a panel discussion with delegation representatives.
Opening Ceremony & Play Ball
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Historic Fourth Ward Activity Park
830 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA 30312
10:30 AM: OPENING CEREMONY
Dr. Monte Randall (Muscogee Nation)
10:45 AM- 3:00 PM: PLAY BALL
Follow the history of the game through play and learn about the evolution of the game through the different styles: Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw.
Parking: Prioritize walking, riding, or rolling on the Eastside Trail to get to the event. Very limited street parking is available on Willoughby Way NE.
Saturday, October 15, 2022
The Carlos Museum at Emory University
71 South Kilgo Cir NE, Atlanta, GA 30322
7:00 PM: PANEL DISCUSSION
The Southeast Woodlands Stickball Summit concluded with an evening panel discussion about the history and future of stickball.
- Dr. Natalie M. Welch, Ph.D. (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), Sport Management Professor
- Addison Karl (Chickasaw/Choctaw), artist, creator of the Itti’ Kapochcha To’li’ sculpture currently on display on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail
- Casey Bigpond (Mississippi Band of Choctaw), artist, singer, traditionalist and lifelong ball player
- Ace Greenwood (Chickasaw/Cherokee), coach, teacher, and player
- Tosh Welch (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), educator and player
- Dr. Monte Randall (Muscogee Nation), President at the College of the Muscogee Nation
NATALIE M. WELCH
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Natalie M. Welch is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and grew up on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina. Natalie is currently an assistant professor of Sport Management in the School of Business at Seattle University, teaching Marketing and working with the Sport and Entertainment Management MBA graduate program. She is a two-time alumnus (BS and PhD) of the University of Tennessee and the University of Central Florida (MBA) and has professional experience working at Nike N7 and Wieden+Kennedy. Natalie is passionate about advocating for Indigenous athletes and equity across all of sport.
Addison Karl (b. 1982) is a visual artist, who was born in Denver and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Contemporary self-taught artist, Addison’s work is created in the United States and Internationally. Throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His work includes paintings, sculptures, installations, and public art, including large-scale murals.
He builds from an early background in printmaking, held in a private studio for more than 15 years. Addison’s ongoing determination to keep learning about both traditional Chickasaw and Choctaw methods of creating, as well as contemporary painting and sculpture techniques. Through his work, he creates a visual narrative that responds to his heritage and being a Culture Bearer.
He is the recipient of multiple awards for sculpture, including 2021 Southeastern Art Show and Market Chickasaw Nation 3rd Place Sculpture, 2021 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market 1st & 2nd Place Bronze, 2020 Tony Stones Award Commended from the Society of Portrait Sculptors, 2019 Southeastern Art Show, and Market Chickasaw Nation 3rd Place Bronze. Addison is also the awardee of the 2019 Artists in Business Leadership Fellowship Grant – First Peoples Fund and 2022 Artist Residency Program at Amazon Headquarters in Seattle.
Casey Bigpond is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. He is Half Choctaw/Half Creek. Raised on the Pearl River Reservation in Choctaw, Mississippi. At an early age, his interest in tribal traditions led him to take up Choctaw cultural arts.
Casey is now a young traditionalist, one of the few young artisans who are becoming the tradition-bearers of the Choctaw people. A skilled craftsman, Casey’s work includes making the “Kabocha” and “Towa” — the sticks and ball used in the ancient Choctaw game of Stickball; crafting blow guns and rabbit sticks – traditional hunting weaponry; and creating beaded medallions.
Mr. Bigpond is an accomplished singer and chanter for many Choctaw Social Dance Groups, and a Pow Wow Singer with the group, Medicine Tail Singers, which takes him regularly to various events across the globe. From the World Series of Stickball, Mr. Bigpond hold numerous World Series titles: (3) with Bok Cito team and (1) Pearl River team, (7) from the Tushkahoma Series in Oklahoma and several All-Star team selections. He had the distinct honor of ambassador representing the United States of America, the State of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and traveled to Europe to perform at the International Council of Organizations of Folklore and Folk Arts Festival in Confolens, France with the Choctaw Dance Troupe. and to market his arts and crafts.
Presently, Casey is employed with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and works as a Cultural Revitalization Specialist for the Department of Chahta Immi for almost a decade, learning, growing and sharing his cultural knowledge with tribal members who want to learn and carry on the knowledge to the next generation of cultural bearers.
Ace Greenwood (Chickasaw/ Cherokee) was raised in a traditional home where he was exposed to the Southeastern way of life. he began playing the social game when he was only a child, then the ceremonial game of stickball in his teen years, and introduced to the tournament style within the last decade. he has stepped on the field of most Southeastern tribes game and has a love for all of the styles. Ace currently coaches and teaches the game to many different groups, ages, and nationalities through camps, presentations, and demonstrations. “There are many things that we as human beings can learn from a simple game. we can’t afford to let it go away.”
TOSH C. WELCH
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
My name is Tosh C. Welch. I have worked for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for 15yrs across the areas of Higher Education, Recreation. I currently work for the EBCI in the Emergency Operations Communications Center. I possess a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs from Western Carolina University as well as being an Alumni of the Native Leadership Institute at The University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill. I earned my Ed.S. from The University of Georgia in Adult Learning; Higher Education Emphasis.
I have played Cherokee Indian Ball since the age of 7, with my beginnings playing for the Wolftown Boys Team. Upon living away from the Qualla Boundary for 12yrs, I returned home and worked for the Tribe. I was one of the founding members of the Walelu (Hummingbird) Indian Ball Team in 2010. I am currently the Team Chairman, serving in that elected capacity for a 7yr term. I currently reside in the Wolftown Community. I am a member of the Wolf Clan (AniWaya) and am also a member of the Oganvyi Gatiyo (Groundhog Place) Stomp Grounds at Kituwah Town.
Dr. Monte Randall
Dr. Monte Randall is Muscogee (Creek) from the Talladega Tribal Town and Deer Clan. He is a veteran of the United States Navy and the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Monte is a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Oklahoma, and Oral Roberts University, where he received a doctorate in educational leadership. He resides in Glenpool, OK, with his wife Lauren and three children.
Dr. Randall’s research interest focuses on Native American culture, problem-solving abilities, and leadership. His dissertation correlated the significance of cultural teaching and learning in overcoming the impacts of historical trauma of Native American students. Dr. Randall is the fifth President at the College of the Muscogee Nation (CMN). He has worked extensively at CMN as the Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean of Student Affairs, Tribal Services Instructor, and Research Specialist. While at CMN, Dr. Randall developed the federal financial aid policies, Office of Student Affairs, academic assessment plan, and contributed to CMN’s accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
Dr. Monte Randall is an Aspen Institute and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, and contributor to the Tribal College Journal. He volunteers as a community leader with Glenpool Public Schools, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Dr. Randall regularly presents topics relating to Native American education, culture, and leadership within the community.