Origins of Lacrosse

The game of Lacrosse had its origins in a tribal game played by Eastern Woodlands Native Americans and by some Plains Indian Tribes in what is now Canada.

The game has been altered extensively by the European settlers of North America to create its current forms.

Modern day lacrosse still resembles the game played by various Native American communities, and the Iroquois Nation or Confederacy is represented independently of the USA in current Men’s Lacrosse world Championship Tournaments.

There is evidence that a version of Lacrosse originated in Canada as early as the 17th Century. Native North American lacrosse was played throughout modern Canada, and was most popular around the Great Lakes, mid Atlantic Seaboard, and the American South.

Traditional Tribal lacrosse games were sometimes major events that could last several days. As many as one thousand men from opposing Tribes could participate, the games were played on open plains between two villages, and the goals could range from 450 metres to several kilometres apart.

Rules for these games were decided on the day before, generally there was no “out of bounds” and the ball could not be touched by the hands. The goals would be selected as large rocks or trees, and playing time was often from sunup to sundown.

Lacrosse traditionally had many different purposes including the settlement of inter-Tribal disputes. This function was essential to keeping the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy together. Lacrosse was also played to toughen young warriors for combat, for recreation, and as part of festivals, religious or otherwise.

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