An eager reader notices that lacrosse players from the Sisseton Wahpeton community participated in the Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Tournament yesterday in Minneapolis. The Star-Tribune tells us a bit about the sticks, the teams, and the cultural impact:
Men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ teams from around the region, including Wisconsin and the Dakotas, will compete using the traditional wooden sticks of the Western Great Lakes tribes, each made from a single piece of ash, steam-bent into a small circle on one end that is lashed with deer-hide netting to catch and throw balls.
“We’re seeing a wave of cultural revitalization in our tribal communities right now, and lacrosse, which had been lost due to colonization, is a part of it,” said Sasha Brown, a volunteer coach for the boys’ teams.
Lacrosse programs have been popping up on area reservations over the past several years — including a boys’ team on the Lower Sioux Reservation in southern Minnesota, as well as youth, men’s and women’s teams in the Sisseton-Wahpeton community in South Dakota [Kristin Tillotson, “American Indians Bring Back Traditional Lacrosse in Osseo Tournament Saturday,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 2015.06.19].
The tournament Facebook page offers this picture of the traditional lacrosse player’s weapon of choice:
Lacrosse605TV spoke in May with Jeremy Red Eagle, who’s been organizing Native games around Sisseton for eight years. He says kids are really taking to lacrosse and that this sport is a way to “instill our Dakota values” into young people:
I don’t have scores yet… but the scores matter much less than the opportunity for young people to travel, compete, and get healthy in body and spirit.