“This is a precious, sacred area for me,” she said in a room at the Onondaga Communications Office where she works. “To our community and families, lacrosse is a sacred medicine.”
To the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Mohawk—the six nations that comprise the Iroquois confederacy that controlled most of present-day New York before colonization—lacrosse was a gift from the creator to be played by men for healing purposes. It continues to be played in ceremonies and at the request of any individual, clan or for the entire confederacy, anyone who needs its curative powers. Because of its deep, spiritual significance, women are not even allowed to touch a stick.