December 04, 2006

Sticking with the Oneida

Helping A Craft Stick It OutAn Oneida Indian is passing on a craft his ancestors have practiced for hundreds of years, one lacrosse stick at a time.

Ron Patterson, 37, is teaching other members of the Oneida Indian Nation how to carve lacrosse sticks. It's part of the tribe's continuing effort to revive the ball-and-stick game that once flourished among the members of the Iroquois Confederacy, who once populated much of what is now Central New York, including Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego counties.

Iroquois legend tells of how Peacemaker gave confederacy leader Hiawatha the game of lacrosse as a means to deal with his grief after the loss of six of his daughters. The game also is a rite sacred to the Thunders, the seven honored Iroquois elders who move across the sky, cleansing the earth with wind and rain.

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