By Devin Jimenez
I knew that lacrosse was a field sport played across the country, but I had no clue that it came from New York and originated with the Iroquois Indian peoples. Learning about the tradition of lacrosse and its importance as a medicine game was a highlight of my trip as a member of the Course Crew during the Notah Begay III Foundation Gold Tournament this past August.
The Course Crew gave Native Americans an opportunity to act as event journalists. Over the days leading up the event, I learned a lot about how to cover a golf tournament and had an opportunity to share in the tribal culture and history of the host tribe, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. The Oneida are part of the Iroquois Confederacy of tribes, which shares many connections including a love of lacrosse.
Over the weekend before the golf tournament, the Course Crew had the opportunity to experience lacrosse hands-on during a clinic with members of the Iroquois National Team. I saw firsthand how these lacrosse players are really into their sport and were able to go really in depth in telling us about technique and the culture of their sport. I was surprised by how patient they were with us while getting us to score goals. I thought I was going to be really good at scoring goals, but every time I would try to throw the ball in, it would go way right.
After seeing how much the sport meant to the players, I began talking to my brother and my cousins that came on the trip, and we want to go and research and find out if we also have a stick game. If we do, we want to bring it back and revitalize this tradition in our own community.