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The sport’s origins

Lacrosse was played all over the North America by the first Americans (Native Americans) in the continent over 700 years ago (estimated). This ranges from the east coast all the way to the west coast of the USA as well as the east-central parts of Canada especially Ontario. The actual age of when it was first played is unknown as we can only go on the accounts of first European sightings in the 1500’s but many experts believe it to be much older than that, well over a millennia ago.

Each tribe had it’s own version of the game, some even played with 2 sticks together per player. They had different variations in design & construction of the sticks made from wood. The game itself had many names from “Little brother of war” to “bump hips” depending on the tribe. The first name came from the fact that the results of the game were the deciding factor in settling inter-tribal disputes between communities. It is also documented that many people had used the games to place bets (close to gambling). It is unfortunate but it is a fact that the early missionaries from Europe had forbid the games to be played in the mid-west due to the gambling aspects (being judged as un-holy). As a result, lacrosse had died out almost completely in the west & the mid-west.

The version we play today is the “long-stick game” which was passed down from the Iroquois — the 6 nations confederation of Native Americans (which is today’s New York state bordering Canada’s Ontario). This version closely resembles the modern game today.

For more detailed info I can recommend the book “Little Brother of War” written by a Smithsonian researcher, Thomas Vennum Jr.