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Lacrosse: The tale of Mong the loon and Kaikak the hawk

The Story


Lacrosse isn't just a rough and tumble sport. It's also an essential part of Native culture. According to an Ojibway legend, lacrosse also plays a role in nature. In this CBC Radio clip, Inside Track's Robin Brown recites Why Birds go South in Winter, an old story of Mong the loon and Kaikak the hawk, and how the outcome of their lacrosse game resulted in the onset of winter. "Long ago there was only summer. The days were always warm and sunny. Winter and snow were unknown," begins the tale. Mong the loon loved to play lacrosse, but after his team loses this one match, he must suffer the consequences. "Every year after that the north wind brought the cold winter and Mong and his friends had to fly to the south," ends the story. "If Mong had not been so eager to play lacrosse . winter would never have come." 

Medium: Radio
Host: Robin Brown
Duration: 9:33
Photo: National Archives of Canada/C-16756

Did You know?


. Why Birds go South in Winter is from a book called Tales The Elders Told: Ojibway Legends. Penned by Ojibway author and scholar Basil H. Johnston, the book is comprised of nine Ojibway legends with illustrations by Cree artist Shirley Cheechoo.

. Johnston was born on July 13, 1929 on the Parry Island Indian Reserve in Ontario. As an Anishinabe member of the Cape Croker First Nation, he worked for the Royal Ontario Museum for 25 years, recording Ojibway heritage and culture. He has written several books on Ojibway culture including The Bear-Walker and Other Stories, Mermaids and Medicine Women and Manitous: Spiritual World of the Ojibway.

. Storytelling is an integral part of Native culture. Native elders believe that knowledge and understanding of their heritage is maintained by passing down from one generation to the next through stories.


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