July 12, 2007

Lacrosse in the blood

Indian Tribes Rediscovering LacrosseTim Glass’s mother tells him that he was born with a lacrosse stick in his hand, because his ancestors invented the game. Tim, 14, and his two younger brothers sometimes practice their chosen sport in T-shirts that say, “It’s in our blood.”

Here on Oneida land, roughly 25 miles east of Syracuse, they are part of a new generation of American Indians reasserting their heritage through a game that was invented by their ancestors but in recent decades has been perceived mainly as the province of prep schools and elite colleges.

Over the past four years, the North American Minor Lacrosse Association has grown into a league of six American Indian teams, each with different age divisions, in upstate New York, with 1,000 players ages 3 to 20. Some upstate Indian tribes, newly prosperous from gambling profits and keen to preserve their past, have hired coaches and referees, bought equipment and refurbished playing fields.

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