Dewa’e:o’, the name early French traders called lacrosse when they first saw the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) playing a game with “sticks” that resembled the staff a Catholic bishop carries into religious ceremonies.
The game has been played in northeast America for centuries; the Haudenosaunee give thanks to the Creator for giving them the game for both his own enjoyment and theirs. Dewa'e:o’ is now enjoyed by teams worldwide.
The boys lacrosse team is planning a three-day trip to the Seneca Nation, one of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, to play box lacrosse beginning March 22. Box lacrosse started in Canada when hockey players saw their arenas not being used in the summer. The game is played like hockey with five players, a goalie and similar rules. The Haudenosaunee adapted their centuries-old outdoor game to the box and now are masters of the game, winning most box tournaments in Canada and the U.S.
The Suffield lacrosse team will compete in two of the Seneca Nation’s new sports facilities on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories of western New York, against teams from different Haudenosaunee Nations. The team is also scheduled to tour the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca, NY, located on the Seneca’s Allegany Territory.
After the tour, a traditional Haudenosaunee meal of the “three sisters” – corn, beans and squash along with deer and bear – will be served at the Museum. Corn bread, corn soup and a strawberry drink will also be served. A group of young Seneca dancers, in traditional regalia, will perform social dances such as the raccoon, fish, smoke and robin dances, each with different steps performed to songs sung in the Seneca language accompanied by a water drum and horn rattles.
Leon, NY is home to a large Amish community; a stop is planned for the team to tour a working blacksmith shop. On a previous trip, team members were treated to the craft of shoeing a horse. The young Amish blacksmiths, some the same age as the lacrosse team players, were extremely cordial. They shun the use of electricity and modern clothes and use only traditional tools.
The Seneca Nation has given the team special room rates at its Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel, a four-star facility, overlooking the American and Canadian falls. The team is traveling by chartered bus for the seven-hour trip from Connecticut.
This cultural/athletic trip is educational and extremely beneficial to the team. Many former players have said it is something they will always remember. Many thanks, “Nya:weyh” in Seneca, to the Suffield people and businesses who have been very generous in previous support of this special trip. We hope you will consider helping us once again.
Donations may be sent to:
Suffield High School Boy’s Lacrosse Team
1060 Sheldon Street
West Suffield, CT 06093
Attention: 2012 Seneca Nation Trip
Written by Guin Yah Geyh, (clan name meaning Something from the clouds) Luis Robert Lee, Retired Suffield coach, former box lacrosse player and a member of the Seneca Nation Haudenosaunee.