January 28, 2012

Swarm teaches lacrosse to Native kids

Swarm connects with Native American roots

The Swarm is halfway into a two-year initiative at the Prairie Island reservation to help kids re-connect with the game their ancestors played.

By Michael RandPromotions are the lifeblood of pre-game and halftime entertainment at sporting events. Objectives can vary greatly--from quick laughs to an attempt at education--but few would seem to have the depth as the one being offered this weekend at Xcel Energy Center.

The Minnesota Swarm pro lacrosse team has its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Buffalo Bandits. In conjunction with that, the Swarm is promoting Native American Heritage Night. Native American kids will play lacrosse pre-game. Local tribal communities will be honored. Halftime will feature a traditional lacrosse match--the version originally played hundreds of years ago by Native Americans.

The bigger picture, however, extends beyond just one night. The Swarm is halfway into a two-year initiative at the Prairie Island reservation to help kids re-connect with the game their ancestors played. Swarm representatives travel southeast of the Twin Cities multiple times a week to give instruction and lead games.

"And it's not just lacrosse," said Swarm co-owner Andy Arlotta. "We've incorporated all kinds of things into the program. We're dealing with accountability, getting good grades and goal-setting sessions. The kids are really grasping hold of it."
Comment:  The article didn't quite note the irony of non-Natives teaching Natives how to play lacrosse. So here's the irony.

For more on Indians and lacrosse, see Indians in A Warrior's Heart and Crooked Arrows Announces Lacrosse Team.


dmarks said...

Prairie Island is not too far up the river from La Crosse, Wisconsin.... named for the Ho Chunk people seen there playing lacrosse.

dmarks said...

And this guy is as close to an appropriate Native sports mascot as anyone can find.

He lost his left eye playing lacrosse. Quite a dedicated player.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Three Years and Going Strong: The Lax-4-Life Camp Brings Sport to Native Youth

Since 2009, Lax-4-Life Inc., a national lacrosse campaign, has continually aimed to provide and support adolescent and young adult suicide prevention programs. Most recently, Lax-4-Life received national praise when they were honored at the White House during Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move in Indian Country” initiative in 2011.

This year the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm has partnered with the Minnesota Army National Guard and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superiors Chippewa to present the third annual Lax-4-Life Camp.

According to their press release, the camp started on July 23rd, and is a five-day intensive lacrosse camp for Native boys and girls held on the Fond du Lac reservation. It offers “a healthy alternative to problems that currently affect Native Communities such as gangs, drugs, suicide, violence, and diabetes. The partners aim to preserve the heritage of the Native’s ancestral game and help restore the tradition of lacrosse to tribal communities.”

Lax-4-Life campers will receive lacrosse instruction from a few noted NLL professionals including Andrew Suitor, Minnesota Swarm captain and 2012 NLL Transition Player of the Year, Aimes Caines, Minnesota Swarm assistant coach, and Meg Herlofsky, head coach of Hamline’s Women’s Lacrosse Club.