Lacrosse isn’t just a high school and college sport; it’s also rich in history dating back to the Iroquois Nation and the Central New York Community.
Master Stick Maker Alf Jacques has made it his mission to educate others on the importance of the sport and its origins. Along with stick demonstrations, he will showcase a variety of lacrosse style sticks from box lacrosse, old and new and old fashioned Iroquois sticks at the annual event.
“It’s a good variety and very interesting and you’ll see things that people don’t see anywhere, but I’ve got them,” he said.
Organizer Sandy Bigtree says that the there is more to the sport than the game itself and that’s one of the biggest reasons why they’ve held the annual event.
“We want to impart on the community that lacrosse originated at this lake, the game that they know of as Lacrosse,” she said. “…It was a medicine game and very foundational to the process of restoring peace in a territory where there was once war.”
The game is still held sacred to the Haudenosaunee Nation and it’s played ceremonially at Onondaga but it also connects people to Onondaga Lake, she adds.
For Jacques it’s more than a game. “It’s part of who we are as a people for one thing, he said. “The creator gave us this game to keep us sharp, to keep us happy … and he wants to make sure that you’re playing hard.”
Religious ceremonies are also a major component to the event and happen before and after each game.
You can learn more about the history of the Lacrosse and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy at the Fourth Annual Wooden Stick Festival on September 28th and 29th at the Wegmans Sports Fields on the southern end of Onondaga Lake Park.
The event is free to attend and there is a fee to play. It will also feature the Spirit Twins Box Lacrosse Camp among other events.
To learn more visit Indigenousvalues.org/LaxWeekend19.