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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Stickball culture spans two generations for Choctaw family from Poteau

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s new series of the Together, We’re More campaign titled ‘Choctaw Proud’ features different tribal members each month.

This month Choctaw Nation spotlights members of a Poteau family carrying on the Choctaw culture.

Dewayne Hornbuckle and his daughter Kyra Hornbuckle, of Poteau are Choctaw tribal members who share a passion for Choctaw culture, particularly stickball. As members of the Tvshka Homma stickball team, this father-daughter duo is proud to be part of the revitalization of Choctaw culture through this ancient sport.

Dewayne Hornbuckle began playing stickball at age five at the stomp grounds. As the son of a coach and an athlete himself, it seemed natural for Dewayne to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the coaching profession. For over 15 years, he taught wrestling, softball and baseball for Poteau and Talihina public schools, and when his own children came along, he coached their soccer, tee-ball, softball and baseball teams.

His desire to see young people, especially Choctaw youth, succeed eventually led him to a change in careers in 2015 when he came to work for the Choctaw Nation’s Youth Outreach program as an advisor. In this role Dewayne mentors a group of young tribal members.

The Youth Outreach program provides a wide variety of services for students who have a hardship at home. Advisors make home and school visits and help with things like long and short-term goal setting. The program aims to give Choctaw youth a positive sense of identity and connect them with their Choctaw culture through group meetings that include language lessons, crafting workshops and more.

For Dewayne, teaching Choctaw culture during his group meetings is an honor, but it is also an obligation because so many generations were not taught the traditions of their ancestors.

Dewayne has passed on his love for stickball to his own children, including daughter Kyra (23), who began playing in the Choctaw Nation’s Yvnvsh Homma youth league and now plays center for the Tvshka Homma Ohoyo. Just like her father, Kyra attended stickball games at the stomp grounds at a young age.

According to proud dad Dewayne, Kyra is “a great athlete—a natural.” Others must think so, too, as she was chosen to play on the All-Star team at the World Series of Stickball last year.

For Kyra, stickball is more than a game. It represents the endurance of Choctaw culture and the resilience of the Choctaw people.

“It just makes me really proud because we’re bringing back our culture, rather than having to hide it or be ashamed of it,” says Kyra.

Together, We’re More features 18 tribal members from different careers, locations and walks of life, making a difference in Oklahoma and beyond. Each month the Choctaw Nation will release short stories of tribal members like the Hornbuckles and how they exemplify being ‘Choctaw Proud.’

For more information about the Choctaw Nation’s Youth Outreach program visit or learn more about the Hornbuckle story.

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