Brief Origin of Lacrosse
The exact origins of the Indigenous game of “lacrosse” are unknown. The game was, and is, referred to by a few names, among them are Creator’s Game, Baggataway, and “little brother of war” or Tewaaraton. In the seventeenth century, a missionary named Jean de Brebeuf coined the name “lacrosse” because the sticks carried by players resembled the curved tip ('crosse") of a shepherd's staff (also the top of a bishop's staff in the Catholic Church). Lacrosse was spiritual, physical, and ceremonial to Native American participants and observers. One of its purposes was to train for war. The Haudenosaunee Five Nations ("Iroquois") would bury a man with his lacrosse stick so that he could play in the next life. The rules for the game varied among different tribes, time periods, and regions. It is important for today’s fans and participants of lacrosse to learn, teach, and embody the history and significance of lacrosse.