Submitted by Lethbridge Sport Council
June is National Indigenous History Month and the official beginning of summer. Canada’s official summer sport lacrosse has deep historical and cultural roots. Local coach and parent Chad Chief Moon is motivated to bring lacrosse to more boys and girls across the region.
Originating in North America, lacrosse is a tribal game played by many nations to acknowledge the Creator and honour elders. It is known as the Creator’s game or the Medicine game. It is the oldest organized sport in North America.
Traditional lacrosse games were sometimes major events that could last several days. As many as 100 to 1,000 men from opposing villages or tribes would participate. The games were played in open plains located between the two villages, and the goals could range from 460 metres to 9.7 kilometres apart.
The game was transformed into a modern sport with specific rules and regulations in the 1860s. Men’s lacrosse was held in two Olympic Games, St. Louis in 1904, and London in 1908. Both times a Canadian team won the gold medal.
In Canada, the game was further transformed from field lacrosse played outdoors to box lacrosse played indoors.
The Lethbridge Lacrosse Association has seen a consistent growth for the past 17 years after a 20-year absence and continues to recruit more youth to the game.
“Lacrosse is a game I fell in love with seven years ago when my son Zane started to play. I took notice in the skills, stick handling, physical play and, of course, the teamwork,” he said.
When Chief Moon discovered lacrosse was created by Indigenous people, the Creator’s game had a deeper meaning to him. It had a purpose beyond the benefits of sport. It is a healing game and a way to give thanks to the Creator.
“My goal is to help my reserve, Kainai First Nation, establish a lacrosse association. I believe lacrosse should be available to all Indigenous youth,” Chief Moon said.
He went on to say that with the historical and cultural significance of lacrosse, Indigenous youth would benefit spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. They will learn new skills like how to use the lacrosse stick as well as the purpose of the stick which is sacred. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified sport and recreation as tools for social development to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities. No other domain of community life has demonstrated sport’s capacity to connect so many young people to positive adult role models and mentors, opportunities for positive development, and help to acquire critical life skills.
“I am looking forward to this sport coming to our reserve and communities. I am also looking forward to helping our youth become good athletes and stronger people,” said Chief Moon.
Zane has switched his interests from hockey to focus more on the game of lacrosse as both he and his father have felt a strong connection to the game.
They trust in the abilities of the sport as it has been passed down through generations and time by way of their culture. They feel a great responsibility to pass their passion for the game along.
If you would like to participate in the movement Chief Moon and his son Zane have started in Lethbridge and the surrounding area or simply say thanks for a job well done, you can contact Chief Moon at CChiefmoon@gmail.com.
For more information about lacrosse visit lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sport-directory.
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