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Lacrosse was a huge thing with Native Americans. Lot of people are surprised to lean that. This is one of our alll time best selling images. And I have always been surprised by that.
The most popular men's game in the Woodland area, still played today by both Indians and non-Indians, was the ball game called lacrosse. The name was derived from the French jeu de crosse, for the stick or racket used to play. Some tribes called lacrosse "the little brother to war" because games could be used to settle disputes between tribes or bands. Menominee oral tradition states that lacrosse was the gift of the Thunderers and among the Menominee it was played as a practice war game. Other Great Lakes Tribes played lacrosse for sport and for spiritual purposes, for instance before Midewiwin ceremonies. Among some groups where lacrosse was played for sport, wagers could be made on the games.
The ball, about the size of a baseball, had a deerskin cover and was stuffed with hair. In earlier times, the ball was made of wood. Some tribes carved designs on the ball-stars, circles, or crosses-and others painted it a red and black or red and yellow, which were probably symbolic of the moieties. Each man had his own stick, a sapling almost four feet long bent at one end to form a circular loop which was filled with netted leather. Iroquois rackets had larger, triangular hooks and nets. Many sticks carried identifying individual markings. When Whites adopted the lacrosse game, they used the Iroquois style of lacrosse stick.
November 19th, 2012
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