Sisseton Wahpeton Athletes Compete in Native Lacrosse Tourney in Minneapolis

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:

Source: Twin Cities Native Lacrosse, Facebook post, 2015.05.26
Source: Twin Cities Native Lacrosse, Facebook post, 2015.05.26

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.


8 Responses to Sisseton Wahpeton Athletes Compete in Native Lacrosse Tourney in Minneapolis

  1. Paul Seamans

    The Ihanktonwon (Yankton) have a very active lacrosse program.

  2. Do they have tournaments around South Dakota?

  3. Standing Rock has a very active Lacrosse program.

  4. Paul Seamans

    Cory, I’m sure the Yankton do travel quite a bit to tournaments. Lacrosse has become an important sport with them, part of their cultural heritage. I watched a pickup game down in the park below the Ft. Randall Dam last year. It was quite enjoyable.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir

    I think it’s very exciting that this is happening. Cory, thanks for running this story.

  6. They play a mean game of basketball in White River. Those kids are really good and that’s a better sport.

  7. Cory, thank you for posting this. How wonderful that many tribes are regaining pride and dignity as well as good health by enjoying a traditional game! Love positive stories!

    Oh, and, Grudz, this is not about a better (white man’s) sport. it’s about…well, read my comments above!

  8. Glad to post, friends! I get cranky about the jockocracy dictating far too much of school policy (K-12 and higher), but I recognize the benefits regular physical activity has on body and mind. Team sports like lacrosse improve health; they also give these kids a chance to work together and travel.