Onondaga and the other 5 nations have a close relationship to Dehontshigwa’ehs or Lacrosse. The game is a gift from the Creator. We give our babies sticks; we are buried with our favorite.
This past week has shown to many how important this game is to us. The game is a part of us. It defines us. Its spirit runs through us. To try to separate the game from who we are is unthinkable.
La-Crosse was adapted to the game by the French who watched us play. Standardized rules were written. Non-natives began to play. By the 1900’s Onondaga teams like the ones pictured here were playing teams from other nations as well as college teams.
Then a new rule was written. All native teams were considered professional and therefore unable to play field lacrosse against colleges anymore.
Many native communities then began to learn a new adaptation of our game, box lacrosse. Games continued between nations, in the box, not in the field.
But 60 years later, Onondaga leader Oren Lyons began a campaign for the Haudenosaunee to return to competitive field lacrosse. Then in 1990 the International Field Lacrosse Committee agreed that the Haudenosaunee should return. We returned as a separate nation to compete against other nations, as equals.
Because the game is a part of us.