June is National Indigenous History Month!
Did you know that June is recognized as National Indigenous History Month, and June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day? To recognize the contributions that Indigenous people have made to sport, this week on the blog we are sharing a brief history of Indigenous sport and how Indigenous people shaped a popular game that is still played today.
You might know of a game called baggataway - it involves a stick and a goal and is frequently played during the summer months here in North America. Some say the game combines elements of soccer and basketball, requiring speed, agility, and teamwork. Players with possession of the ball use their stick to get down the field and attempt to score on the other team’s goal. You might be able to picture the game described here, but probably know of it as lacrosse - the name adopted by French Canadians colonizers who saw Indigenous people playing and were inspired by them. The name lacrosse was chosen due to the appearance of the sticks used in the game - they reminded the French Canadians of a Catholic Bishop’s crosier (or “crosse” in French). The name lacrosse was born and became the most widely used name for the game to this day. The game is also known as the Creator’s game, due to the fact that it was believed that this game was so powerful it had the ability to heal and was used to unite various tribes. Lacrosse is a part of Canadian culture and history, and its rich heritage should be recognized and appreciated by both players and fans.
Today, Lacrosse is played by thousands all around the world, and in 1859 it was officially recognized as Canada’s National Sport. Last year, KidSport Alberta distributed nearly $75,00 to help 245 kids play lacrosse - it was our tenth most popular sport! To celebrate this National Indigenous History month, we encourage you to get outside with your family or cohort to try a game of lacrosse yourselves, or learn more about the history of our national sport!
To watch a video on the history of lacrosse, click here.
To read more about the history of lacrosse, click here.