© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tribes Reclaim the Sport of Lacrosse

Centuries ago, Native Americans created and played the sport of lacrosse, believing it was given to them by the Creator to entertain him and to heal the indigenous people. Tribes also used the sport to settle disputes, including territorial conflicts. Eventually, settlers re-purposed the sport, pushing its tribal history into the shadows, but today, Sasha Houston-Brown of the Dakota tribe is relearning lacrosse and teaching it to other indigenous women in her community in Minneapolis.

"Growing up in the inner city here I didn't see any of our community members playing lacrosse." Houston-Brown says, "Even back home on our reservations I didn't see that, it was more like a historical thing."

Just as generations ago, the 28-year-old says playing the sport helps sustain the spirits and health of each player, and Houston-Brown points out that her Dakota tribe has always encouraged women to play, which has not been common for every tribe.

"I think it’s been really powerful for us as women to reclaim that space too and come together as women in a way that’s really rooted in our culture and our strength and our health," she continues, "there is so much power in that and that’s something that I think we all really need."

The women practicing this particular night all share a common bond of having fun while honoring their heritage.

(This story was first part of NPR's Next Generation Radio, which held its College Broadcasters, Inc. Convention in Minneapolis.)

Related Content