Anetso, the Cherokee Ball Game
At the Center of Ceremony and Identity
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (33.4 KB)
For their friendship, as well as thoughtful engagement with and support of my work over the years, thanks in particular to Frank M. Chapman, Vincent J. Cornell, Sam D. Gill, James B. Jeffries, Joel S. Kaminsky, James M. McLachlan, Carrie McLachlan, Michael McNally, Craig Prentiss, Anne F. Rogers, and...
Introduction: Taladu quo! (It is still 12!)
Download PDF (484.5 KB)
Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, certain members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have continued a centuries-long practice by engaging in anetso, what has, in English parlance, come to be called the “Cherokee ball game.” Anetso, as an event, is itself the focus and hub of...
1. Tadatse anetsodui (Go and play ball with them): Anetso in the Cherokee Narrative Tradition
Download PDF (205.6 KB)
The inclusion of anetso in several Cherokee cultural narratives of different genres is one facet of its cultural cachet among members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation. Key Cherokee narratives include the ball game, either literally or as a figure of speech to indicate a contest or battle of some...
2. Hani! (Here!): Anetso as an Enduring Symbol of Cultural Identity in an Era of Great Change (1799–1838)
Download PDF (261.2 KB)
Two hundred years ago, the Moravian missionaries John and Anna R. Gambold complained about the Cherokee ball game in a mission school report to their bishop, Carl Gotthold Reichel. The passage in the July 1808 report read: “That ball game seems also to have had a bad effect on our Indian children. It...
3. Ahaquo! (Still there!): The Anetso Ceremonial Complex
Download PDF (653.8 KB)
This chapter will situate the anetso ceremonial complex in what I am calling “the Cherokee religious system.” First I will discuss a transition in the Cherokee religious system from a hereditary priestly caste to independent individual practitioners. An overview of green corn ceremonialism will...
4. Tseduga! (Pass it to me!): Performing the Cherokee Ball Game in the Twentieth Century
Download PDF (460.2 KB)
In 1900, James Mooney concluded his “Historical Sketch” of the Cherokee with the following line: “The older people still cling to their ancient rites and sacred traditions, but the dance and the ballplay wither and the Indian day is nearly spent.” In 2009, despite Mooney’s dire prognosis, it is clear that...
5. Woye! (Foul!): Theory and the Meaning of Anetso
Download PDF (367.1 KB)
When the manager of the Wolftown anetso team and the players walk across the street to the bank of the Oconaluftee River and stand single file facing the water, he talks to them before they engage in amohi atsvsdi, the “going to water” activity. In October 2005, a cultural consultant told me that the manager...
Conclusion: Taladu ogisquodiga (12, we finished)
Download PDF (76.7 KB)
The cultural cachet of anetso is notable for members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation. At least three generations of Cherokee players and spectators live on or near the Qualla Boundary. Played regularly only one week of the year at the Cherokee Indian Fair, the Cherokee ball game nevertheless...
Download PDF (231.5 KB)
Download PDF (108.6 KB)
Download PDF (733.7 KB)
Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010