Cherokee marbles

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A Cherokee marbles game in progress.

Cherokee marbles (ᏗᎦᏓᏲᏍᏗ, digadayosdi), or five hole, is a traditional game among the Cherokee people of the United States.

The game[edit]

It is played, traditionally, with round balls made of stone, but now sometimes with standard billiard balls. An annual tournament is held during Cherokee National Holiday each Labor Day weekend.


The origin of the game is unknown, and it is not mentioned in the works of ethnologist James Mooney.[1]

Cherokee marbles is a similar game to the rolley hole marbles played by Anglo-Americans in Kentucky and Tennessee, though the dimensions are different and rolley hole uses three holes instead of five.[2]

More recently, the game has been introduced into the public schools in Northeast Oklahoma, by the Cherokee Nation, as part of a program to discourage methamphetamine abuse.[3]


There is an official rulebook which is used in tournament play.[4] It is played on a field about 100 feet in length, and with five holes. A player must advance to each hole, knocking other players' marbles out in a prescribed manner, and return again.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conley, Robert J. A Cherokee Encyclopedia. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007. Page 144.
  2. ^ Bilger, Burkhard. Noodling for Flatheads. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Page 210.
  3. ^ :: View topic - Cherokee children play games to fight drugs
  4. ^ | Cherokee Marbles Training Underway
  5. ^ "the People's Paths!" Cherokee News Path - Cherokee Social Games