Iroquois Indians and Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a sport played worldwide and is centerpiece of the Iroquois Indian culture. This sport involves using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse (aka lacrosse stick) and because this is a contact sport, it requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh that is designed to catch and hold the lacrosse ball. The object of the game is to score by shooting the call into the opponent’s goal. The stick can be used to catch, carry, and pass the ball.
This game was introduced in 1750 by the Mohawk tribe. Iroquois loved to play lacrosse because it was a source of entertainment, physical conditioning, and it was also a religious celebration as a way to honor the Creator. One of the highly celebrated traditions goes back to the Iroquois Confederacy where young warriors staged a lacrosse game for one of the league founders, Hayewat-ha, to ...view middle of the document...
This is a game that requires lots of energy and skill. This may or may not have helped the Indians in preparation to war or any type of threat by applying their lacrosse game tactics in skill and energy.
These days, lacrosse is still very much alive all over the world and the Iroquois still have a traveling team called “The Iroquois Nationals.” This team was founded in 1983. The Haudenosaunee is the tribe that still remains in upstate New York and Quebec and also provides the teams passports. This caused a major issue in 2010. The Nationals were blocked from traveling to a tournament in England because of a passport dispute. The 23 team members refused to use U.S. or Canadian passports because it would be as if they were denying their ancestry and citizenship. The United Kingdom wouldn’t recognize the passports that were issued out by the Haudenosaunee. Secretary of state, Hilary Clinton even intervened and got the team a onetime waiver but the British government still refused to grant the Nationals access. Due to missed matches and no budging in the passport issue, the team had to forfeit the tournament. The players are still trying to gain recognition for their passports so they can attend future international games without problems.
The stick making process is one that takes quite some time and patience. Alf E. Jacques makes sticks for the Nationals and he says it takes his four years to makes at least six D-sticks for the teams. He would sit at a cooper’s bench and use a draw-shave to shape the six foot defensive sticks for the competition to come. The team usually saves these sticks for when they play the Americans, since they are continuous reigning champs at lacrosse tournaments.
Although lacrosse is a sport enjoyed and played worldwide, its roots lie with the Iroquois Indians and with the intention to praise, honor, and celebrate their creator. With that type of meaning, this makes the game much more passionate and spiritual for the Iroquois, and with that passion will hopefully bring a championship victory for the Iroquois Nationals in the coming future!