Lacrosse (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: The most widespread and popular game among Indians in North America, lacrosse often had ceremonial significance; European settlers learned the game, and it became popular in North America and parts of Europe
The actual origins of the game are unknown, but based on its widespread popularity and similarity of rules throughout North America, it is believed to be more than a thousand years old. It was played on fields of varying sizes of up to 2 miles long and 200 yards wide. Teams attempted to score by throwing a hard wooden or sand-filled buckskin ball through a goal. Players carried sticks of 3 to 5 feet in length with a woven leather pouch on the end used to carry, throw, and catch the ball. This feature is emphasized in the French name “lacrosse,” meaning “the stick.” The game was often part of ceremonial events including healing ceremonies and a regular part of celebrations. While it was usually a man’s game, in some areas women also played. Contests were also a means of friendly tribal rivalry and were often the focus for wagering.
European settlers in Canada and the United States learned and adopted the game. Today it remains popular among Indian peoples, most notably the Iroquois. It is also firmly established as a college sport and is growing in popularity at the high school level.
Sources for Further Study
Fisher, Donald M. Lacrosse: A History of the...
(The entire section is 267 words.)
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