Onondaga Nation of Champions



My grandson, Parker,  is playing lacrosse on the Onondaga Nation. He has had a handmade stick since he was a little boy and he is now  8.  His  family moved to Skaneateles  last year while we were in India for a job for my son, Chris,  and to be nearer the family, us in the Albany area, and the Onondaga Nation near Syracuse for Demone, his wife’s family.


The Iroquois Nation which includes 6 ancient tribes was a democratic nation when the European colonists  first arrived in the “new world.”  It is a matriarchal society where the clan mothers choose  the chiefs, though they are never chiefs themselves.  In the ancient times, the clan mothers  decided when and if the tribe went to way. I think that was a very insightful idea. The Onondaga are the fire keepers and the peace makers. This gives you an indication of their natural temperament.  This is where the game of Lacrosse began. It is their belief that the Creator gave the game to  their tribe making it very special. A film was released a few years ago based on the Onondaga history with Lacrosse , called  “Crooked Arrows.”  Another PBS episode was made for TV called “The Medicine Game”  which is the story of the Thompson brothers honored as ABC Persons of the Week  in the above video.



Now Parker is continuing the family tradition from his father who played lacrosse, his grandfather, uncles, and cousins who played or play  Lacrosse for  the Onondaga Nation.  He is letting his hair grow because he wants the braid to as a symbol of the tradition he is continuing.Screen-shot-2013-09-26-at-12.38.37-PM He goes to box Lacrosse practice two nights a week. Chris, his dad, is very impressed with the coaching he is receiving and the gentle , no nonsense  discipline and instruction he is receiving from  the Onondaga coaches. The season begins in May when the boys will play box Lacrosse games at the various “res”  sites around Syracuse.  I am  very proud of Parker just because he is a terrific little guy, but I will be especially proud to see him learning and carrying on his Onondaga traditions.  Bofa and Miss Anne will  with his Onondaga family  cheering him on  as he proudly takes his first steps into this 1000 year old traditional game !wooden-lacrosse-sticks


A scene from “Crooked Arrows.”



This is the  Iroquois symbol which is on their flag and means Iroquois Nation, People of the Longhouse or 6 Nations.

Images from public domain.

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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31 Responses to Onondaga Nation of Champions

  1. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Excellent post!!! TY for the lesson …. I love thus kind of information. This is the kind of news that need to be told.


  2. Laura says:

    How interestingM thank you for sharing this!


    • annetbell says:

      So glad you enjoyed it.


    • annetbell says:

      It is much more than just a fashion statement to the Native Americans. Way back in the days of the Indian Boarding schools, in the 1800s, the misguided whites who ran the schools, immediately cut the boys hair. The slogan was prevalent of “Kill the Indian (traditions) and save the child.” trying to make them turn to the white ways. This is just one of the many indignities and horrors forced on the Native people. So you can see the long braid tells many stories.
      Thank you for your continued interst.


  3. YellowCable says:

    The long braid looks cool for the players.


  4. markbialczak says:

    The Syracuse area is one of the hot spots for the sport of lacrosse, much thanks to the Onondaga Nation, Anne. Many Onondaga natives go on to play for Syracuse University and many other upstate colleges, including now the two brothers who play at SUNY Albany, as referenced in the ABC clip. In fact, Oren Lyons, faithkeeper in the Onondaga Nation and respected artist and ambassador throughout Central New York, is one of Syracuse University’s former stars. Best of luck to your grandson on this exciting journey. Enjoy, Anne!


    • annetbell says:

      Thank you Marco. . . . I know a lot about Orin Lyons, as he is a huge presence. He spoke before the United Nations as the keynote speaker of the conference beginning the Year of Indigenous People…I think it was called. In the Medicine Game film, the Thompson say they are hoping to go to Syracuse but somehow they ended up in Albany. Maybe like so many kids who want to be near family but a little away, too ! Smiles . . .


  5. Trapper Gale says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post. Best of luck to your grandson as he learns more about the sport and teamwork.


  6. How fabulous and so interesting. I had no idea of the history behind lacrosse. Ben is about to try it out at his school soon 🙂


  7. kyangel17 says:

    Really interesting Anne. I didn’t know the history either, and it’s so good to learn new things about our first citizens in this country. Parker must be so excited. I love the braids they are wearing. It shows their pride in their past, and the respect for their elders. I like that.


    • annetbell says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post Angie. I asked my family first and was so glad they agreed. Check my Music Monday post tomorrow.. . . .You will like it , I think !


  8. Cheers to your grandson (and you for recounting his tale)!


  9. shaunynews says:

    Hasn’t really caught on in Europe this Sport..
    Great story though, you must be so proud


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