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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Ká:lahse'- A Haudenosaunee Tradition
by Oneida Indian Nation
credits: photos courtesy of Oneida Indian Nation
Lacrosse is derived from a Haudenosaunee game of great antiquity.
Ká:lahse' — A Haudenosaunee Tradition is an exhibit at the Shako:wi Cultural Center that talks about the ancient game of lacrosse and today's fast-paced game.
Ká:lahse' — required great skill for catching, carrying and passing a ball using only the basketlike head of a lacrosse stick.

Played throughout the world today, the sport of lacrosse is derived from a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) game of great antiquity.

This game required the greatest skill for catching, carrying, and passing a ball using only the basketlike head of the lacrosse stick. Quickness, stamina, and strength were equally important to play the game well.

Oneidas and other Haudenosaunee loved the game passionately as entertainment and physical conditioning, but lacrosse also was a religious celebration.

The Oneida Creation Story, for example, describes a Spirit World which preceded our earth and hangs above it. The residents of that sky land lack sickness and death. They know only happiness- possibly because they enjoy lacrosse.

Lacrosse is pleasing to the Creator, but it is also a rite sacred to the Thunders, the seven honored Elders (Grandfathers) who move across the sky from west to east cleansing the earth with winds and rains. In some Haudenosaunee communities, lacrosse is prescribed (through a dream or by a fortuneteller) as a curing ritual.

An integral part of Haudenosaunee culture, lacrosse continues to be played at every level of competition, from professional athletes to the youngsters who are learning the game of their ancestors, thus safeguarding it for the seventh generation.

The Oneida Indian Nation's Shako:wi Cultural Center, which long has been offering visitors an in depth look at the Haudenosaunee culture, is pleased to showcase this lacrosse ex­hibit: Ká:lahse'- A Haudenosaunee Tradition.

The exhibit gives visitors a chance to look at the traditional game originally played by the Haudenosaunee for the entertainment of the Creator and compares it to today's fast-paced game played across the country.

To see the new exhibit, and to see other featured items in the Oneida collection, visit the Shako:wi Cultural Center. This project was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

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Ká:lahse' — A Haudenosaunee Tradition is an exhibit at the Shako:wi Cultural Center. The game of lacrosse, played by Oneida and other Haudenosaunee, was used for entertainment and physical conditioning. Lacrosse was also a religious celebration.
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The process of stick making can take several months -- sometimes longer -- to complete.
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