Indigenous

Team Haudenosaunee plays lacrosse for more than just the game

Team Haudenosaunee and five other nations are competing in Winnipeg this week at the World Junior Lacrosse Championships.

1 of 6 teams competing at World Junior Lacrosse Championships in Winnipeg

Team Haudenosaunee play against Poland at the World Junior Lacrosse Championship in Winnipeg on Thursday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Team Haudenosaunee and five other nations are competing in Winnipeg this week at the World Junior Lacrosse Championships.

Canada, Australia, Poland, Israel and the United States all have teams in this year's tournament but Haudenosaunee is the only nation that has played, what they call the Creator's Game, since time immemorial. 

"Our boys play for a different reason than many of the other nations," said Brent Maracle, the team's general manager.

Lacrosse is taught to Haudenosaunee kids at a young age and is known as one of oldest organized sports in North America.

WATCH | Haudenosaunee team talks about lacrosse 

Team Haudenosaunee at World Junior Lacrosse Championship

2 months ago
Duration 1:40
Team Haudenosaunee and five other nations are competing in Winnipeg this week at the World Junior Lacrosse Championships.

"Our boys are raised knowing this game came from the Creator and it goes back to our earliest history known to us," said Maracle.

Players for the team said they feel honoured to represent their communities and play the sport of their ancestors in a venue as large as the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.

"Lacrosse is a huge thing on our reservation so we dream of playing on a stage like this, in a huge arena," said Owen Vanloon, from Six Nations of the Grand River in southern Ontario.

"You're just thinking about playing for the elders and other people back home." 

Team Haudenosaunee player Kaymen Diabo says the community is supportive. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Kaymen Diabo from Kahnawake, Que., said he realizes how important lacrosse is to his community.

"Everyone is so supportive of us to come out here," he said.

He said it brings people together, from all different nations.

"It's great for everyone, good medicine," said Diabo.

As of Friday, Canada and Haudenosaunee shared the first place position, and were scheduled to face off with other opponents on Saturday night.

Haudenosaunee is so far undefeated in the tournament defeating Israel 28-14 in their first game on Tuesday, then dominating against Poland on Thursday with a final score of 20-7.

The World Junior Lacrosse Championships wrap up with the gold medal game on Sunday night.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stefan Richard is a reporter for CBC Indigenous based in Winnipeg. Stefan is a proud member of Sagkeeng First Nation. Follow Stefan's work: @stefanxrichard

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