Indigenous studies students at NDSS will soon take their classroom to the lacrosse field.
Thanks a $2,600 Limestone Learning Foundation grant and a 20-per-cent discount offered by Sport Chek, the school will soon purchase lacrosse equipment which will be used as part of the curriculum.
Karen Randall, who teaches Indigenous Studies at NDSS, says she plans to reach out to lacrosse players and former students from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory to come to the school and speak to the cultural significance of lacrosse while demonstrating the basics of the game.
For many aboriginal bands lacrosse was more than just a sport; it was a way to train warriors and settle disputes.
“Lacrosse is Canada’s national sport and it’s also called the creator’s game,” said Randall. “Rick Revelle, he wrote the book I Am Algonquin and has an amazing section in it that’s about the Algonquin and the Nipissing and their hunting rights issue. In the book he describes how they can’t afford a full out battle because they can’t afford to lose warriors.
“What they would do is have an agreement. In the book they would have a two day lacrosse game to be able to make a decision on those hunting rights. That was done fairly often.”
Randall was asked to write the grant proposal at the urging of students who had expressed an interest in learning lacrosse.
“We were thrilled to be able to get a grant for a set of equipment to learn the game and learn the culture” said Randall.
Exploring the culture fit in perfectly with their ongoing ‘reconciliation’ program at the school as they teach students about the rich history of Canada’s native population.
For the students, it’ll be a fun and interactive way to learn history.
“It’s always been something since Grade 9 that I thought the school should have because we have every other sport,” said Brianna Lake-Stephenson, a Grade 12 student. “Lacrosse is one of my favourite sports to play. I just never said anything because I didn’t think one person could make a difference.”
In talking to other students, she quickly learned there was quite a bit of interest among her peers. That’s when they approached teacher Craig Sindall, who volunteered to be the teacher lead on the project.
Along with learning the cultural relevance to First Nations, there’s also some talk that the school could develop a varsity team to compete in tournaments at the OFSAA level. Though not offered yet, it’s expected to be adapted into OFSAA next year.
Getting the numbers shouldn’t be an issue as there’s already a strong number of students who play it.
“I know there’s a big league in Kingston with rep teams and everything so we might be able to get into a local (league),” said student Liam Alford.
Along with the educational aspect of the sport, it would also serve as a great social activity students of all grades, skill levels and interests.
“I think it’s interesting because there’s the kids that are into soccer, there’s the kids that are into rugby and football,” said Kylie Mosgrove, a Grade 9 student at NDSS. “I think the similarities between those sports (and lacrosse) will get a lot of people interested in it as well.”
Sindall says the plan for now is to purchase the equipment in the coming weeks and ideally hold a couple of lacrosse workshops after school over the next couple of weeks. When school resumes in September, the equipment will be integrated into the Indigenous Studies program as well as used for an after school club program with the possibility of forming a competitive team in the future.