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Archive for October 11, 2021

Oct. 11, 2021 — The medicine game

Today, a day celebrated amongst many as Indigenous Peoples Day, we think about the origins of a game that has become incredibly popular amongst a growing segment of America over the last quarter-century.

That game was originally called baggataway, but is now known as lacrosse. It was a game which originally settled disputes amongst native tribespeople before European conquest of the Americas, but has also come to be a cultural touchstone amongst current members of the Haudenosaunee.

As the game grows across the United States, it is useful to understand how important location is. While the original Six Nations does have great lacrosse, so does the area of the Piscataway, which encompasses much of the Delmarva Peninsula.

As you head west, however, many of the native games played by tribes involved sticks, but not with the ball being played in the air. Instead, a lot of the games involve the ball being played on the ground, as if to be more connected to the earth.

Implements in games played by Native Americans are on display to this day at the National Museum of the American Indian in our nation’s capital. The implements are a smorgasbord of shapes and curves, meant to carry, shield, or propel whichever the chosen instrument of play is — a ball or a chain of small stones.

Your Founder would like to remind you that he was born on land formerly occupied by the Chocktaw and Chickasaw nations, was raised in the Lenni-Lenape territory, was educated in the Massachusett and Haudenosaunee territories, and currently lives in what was the Piscataway and Nacotchtank tribal lands.

My parents were born and raised in what was Taino territory in the Caribbean, although they were of southern European origin.

So, why this disclosure? I think in order for us to be truly American, we have to understand that we are still very much a melting pot of people coming from around the world, even though it has come at great cost to the original occupants of this land.