Chunkey

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Chunkey (a name used in most Native languages) is a two-person sport that is very popular among Native citizens of the North American League, Louisianne, South Florida, and eastern Tejas. It is played between two players on a hard patch of ground sprinkled with fine sand. One player rolls a stone, disc-shaped and three to six inches in diameter. Both players run after it for a few yards and then throw spears toward the spot where they think the stone will stop rolling. Whoever lands his spear nearest the stone's stopping point wins the round.

Archaeologists have found chunkey stones dating to AD 700. The game became hugely popular during the Mississippian period (c. 900-1400), when southeastern part of the continent was dominated by large cities in the Mississippi River region, including the big metropolis of Cahokia in present-day Illinoise. From the beginning it has been inextricably tied to extravagant gambling.

Understanding the rules of chunkey is considered a mark of "Nativeness" among males; if you didn't grow up playing it, then you probably aren't "truly" Native. It has remained very popular at the school, community, and semi-professional levels. Gambling is still very much a part of the game, though in many cases it has been toned down (gambling on school matches, for example, is illegal). In smaller towns, betting on local chunkey games is often a major form of entertainment and serves as the focus of summertime gatherings.

The importance spear-throwing, a warrior skill, along with the gambling, have meant that chunkey has always been an almost totally male pastime. Women are more likely to play whummlin, a game invented by Scottish colonists in Jacobia which uses the stones and sand of chunkey, but rules derived from the old Scottish game of "sweeping the ice for a rock" (called curling *here*). While some Native men do play whummlin, and some women do play chunkey, they are considered somewhat out of the ordinary. It should be noted that whummlin is played by both men and women in the Newcomer community.

A fair number of Newcomers do play chunkey, especially in the Native provinces. However, chunkey is definitely a Native Thing, take it or leave it.

(BK)

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