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History of 

The History and Significance of Lacrosse in Native Culture

Lacrosse, revered as "The Medicine Game," holds a special place in Native American history. With many tribes having a version of the game, it was more than a sport — it was a sacred ritual for healing, conflict resolution, and spiritual celebration. Played in honor of the Creator, lacrosse was a cornerstone of community life, imparting lessons of courage, unity, and respect. It was a spiritual journey as much as a physical challenge. In the modern world, while lacrosse has evolved, its essence as a sacred activity endures, particularly in the traditional forms still practiced in Native communities. At the Pacific Northwest Native Lacrosse Club, we honor and embrace this rich heritage. Our goal is to reconnect Native youth with the deep cultural roots of lacrosse, instilling in them an appreciation for its historical significance, cultural pride, and spiritual connection.

A Haudenosaunee Legend: The First Game of Lacrosse

In Haudenosaunee tradition, Lacrosse is revered as a sacred gift from the Creator, intended for healing and enjoyment. A legendary game once unfolded between the land's four-legged creatures, led by the Bear, Deer, and Turtle, and the sky's winged beings, guided by the Owl, Hawk, and Eagle. As they prepared, a squirrel and mouse, initially dismissed by the four-legged animals for their small size, were embraced by the winged team. The birds ingeniously crafted wings from drum leather, creating the first bat and flying squirrel. These new players, once underdogs, shone brilliantly, displaying extraordinary skills that led to an unexpected victory for the birds. This ancient tale underscores the value of every individual's contribution, no matter how seemingly small, in the tapestry of life.

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