March 13, 2013

The Creator’s Game

By the time of the War of 1812, lacrosse had been a well established sport among the Iroquois. The Iroquois version of the sport looked a bit different than it does today.

Originally, lacrosse was played by anywhere between 100 to 1,000 men on a field that could stretch for as long as three kilometres. No nets were used but rather a wooden pole was placed upright into the ground. The objective was to hit the ball off the pole in order to score a point. Games could last from sunrise to sundown for two to three days straight.
Natives playing lacrosse

For the Iroquois lacrosse was more than just a sport. Lacrosse involved a deep spiritual involvement for those who played and was often referred to as “The Creator’s Game.” The game was used as a training ground for warriors and was quite violent. It was not uncommon for men to die during the game.

Lacrosse also played an important role in settling disputes among tribes. For the Iroquois this function was important in order to keep the six nations of the confederacy together. 

This Saturday, March 16th, you can visit Fort Niagara to experience a different Iroquois tradition. Fort Niagara will be having a Sugar Maple Walk where you can experience traditional uses for sap and the equipment that was used to turn sap into sugar and syrup. Click here for more information.

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