Lacrosse is a game that has been played by the Onondagas and the Haudenosaunee people for countless centuries. The Onondagas consider the game to be a very spiritual game given to them by the Creator and is still played at Onondaga as a spiritual and healing game for the people. In the early 1800’s at Onondaga, the Haudenosaunee prophet named Handsome Lake requested the game of lacrosse be played as one of his last wishes before he made his journey back to the Creator’s land. The game was played in his honor and assisted him to fulfill his journey.
The Onondagas call the game Dey-Hon-Tshi-Gwa’-Ehs which translated to mean, “they bump hips”. The young people are told by the elders that the game is to be respected and to respect your opponent as they also have been given the gift to play the game. Players of all ages from Onondaga participate in an annual spiritual game. The game is played for the spiritual benefit of the Nation and for all those who play the game.
The Onondagas have a long and proud tradition of playing the game and extend their hand to everyone to join them in preserving and playing the oldest team sport in North America,