Over the past ten years, the Iroquois Lacrosse Program has offered lacrosse instructional camps, origins of the game teachings and traditional games to First Nations, non-profit organizations, urban Indigenous healthy living programs, schools, recreation centres and lacrosse clubs across Canada and the United States.
Over that time, Iroquois Lacrosse Program has reached over 108,000 students/young participants through their interactive cultural experiences.
- Haudenosaunee Stick Ball Games
Traditional games of the Haudenosaunee in essence were and still are a spiritual part of our lives. Yet the game has evolved as a competitive sport with many people and nations picking up the game of lacrosse. Presenters will share interactive learning experiences and their personal stories of the modern game and other stick ball games.
- Wooden Stick Teachings
Through our family alliance with Henhawk Lacrosse Stick Makers, Iroquois Lacrosse Program presenters will share how to make a wooden stick and provide advice on taking care of your stick.
- Origins of the Game Teachings
The spiritual essence of the game is mainly taught through oral and interactive teachings which illustrate the true origins of the game as told through our Haudenosaunee traditions. Presenters will share stories of our traditions handed down by Knowledge Holders on lacrosse, known as The Creators Game, and other stick ball games of the Haudenosaunee.
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Interactive Lacrosse Workshop
Teachings on the Origins, Creator’s Game, Medicine by Carmen Thomas
Stick Making by Daniel ‘Bo’ Henhawk
Modern Game by Mekwan Tulpin
Skills Workshop – picking up, cradling, passing and shooting the ball on net and Q&A by Johnny Powless
1:20 PM – 2:00 PM Interactive Doubleball Workshop
Origins of game, How to make your own stick and ball by Carmen Thomas
Interactive skills workshop – picking up and passing ball, competing for ball and Q&A by Mekwan, Bo, Johnny and Carmen
2:05 PM – 2:55 PM Stories and Teachings on Stick Ball Games
by Norma Jacobs and Carmen Thomas
3:05 PM – 4:00 PM Empathic Lacrosse Demonstration with audience participating
Iroquois Lacrosse Program presenters and teams from Niagara Region
Among her early 20s, Mekwan Tulpin sought new challenges for herself in sport that emerged into World Cup dream realization over nearly the next decade. As a proud member of Fort Albany First Nation, Mekwan became the first James Bay Cree from Nishnawbe-Aski Nation territory to join a National team competing at this level of women’s field lacrosse. She continues to make ‘HERstory’ today in other styles of the game alongside an evolving sisterhood at provincial, national and international stages of play. Opportunities in sport increased alongside her own growth in knowledge and passion for the game. Mekwan first joined the Iroquois Lacrosse Program as an instructor in 2013 and continues to become involved beyond being an athlete. She has pursued different pathways in sport such as team management, coaching, building physical literacy, youth leadership and program development. Most of her connections have been Ontario-based in partnership with many First Nations communities, urban Indigenous organizations or provincial-territorial sport bodies and District School Board settings. She continues to contribute towards strategic initiatives making a positive team impact in these areas while still actively engaging and nurturing interests of emerging young leaders and athletes today.
Ga:hyąhó “Along the Heavens” – Carmen Thomas
Ga:hyąhó, aka Carmen Thomas, is a member of the Cayuga Nation Wolf Clan of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. I have worked for 30 years in Indigenous community development and mental wellness both on & off reserve. For the past 20 years, have been actively involved in Six Nations lacrosse as a parent driving his son’s to games, as a volunteer, executive to minor youth lacrosse, coach and as a fan. As a team member of Iroquois Lacrosse Program, this experience has provided me the opportunity to teach youth and adults alike about our traditional stick ball games – doubleball, lacrosse and longball. The part I’ve come to love, being a part of this team, is helping individuals to connect to themselves through the many layers of teachings found within our cultural stories handed down since the time of Creation. Nya:weh to all the people we’ve already engaged as well as those that wish to experience our unique cultural lacrosse and stick ball games.