Chikasha Ittifama (Chickasaw Reunion) May 16 at KullihomaCONTRIBUTED BY Gene Lehmann, Media Relations.
A game played for centuries in the ancestral Chickasaw homelands will be introduced during the modern-day Chickasaw Reunion in May.
“Chunky” is a contest where a small round disc is rolled on the ground and contestants attempt to hurl spears closest to it before inertia halts its forward progress. The spear-thrower earns a point for being closest to the disc, and two points if the spear actually touches it.
Southeastern tribes have been known to play chunky under varying names since about 600 A.D. So popular was the game, Western artist, adventurer and author George Catlin – famed for portrait paintings of northern tribal leaders and Indian culture in the early 1830s – captured a chunky tournament on canvas.
Prolific, Catlin is thought to have completed 900 paintings during his journeys into the western expanse of America where only a few non-Natives traveled prior to, and immediately following, Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase. Hundreds of Catlin’s works are owned by the Smithsonian Institution.
Chickasaw chunky players have organized and are bringing the game back for reunion patrons to enjoy.
A demonstration of the game will be Saturday, May 17, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. A formal chunky tournament is set for 2-4 p.m. the same day, according to the reunion schedule.
Chikasha Ittifama (Chickasaw Reunion) will get under way Friday, May 16, at Kullihoma, approximately 10 miles east of Ada near state Highway 1. From Highway 1, signs will point the way.
At 6 p.m., a welcome and prayer will be given by Eddie Postoak and the Chickasaw Honor Guard will present the colors. Hamburgers will be served. A youth and co-ed stickball game will begin at 6:30 p.m. The traditional stomp dance will begin at 8:45 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m.
On Saturday, May 17, there is something for everyone. A fishing derby, cornstalk shoot, horseshoe tournament, crafts, craft demonstrations, storytelling, squirrel stick throw, youth archery, hymns and the final reunion stomp dance will be ongoing until the wee hours of Sunday morning.