The first Haudenosaunee Wooden Stick Lacrosse Expo to be held at Onondaga Lake Park Sept. 28-29
Expo celebrates history, legacy of the 'Creator's Game' in Central New York
The Onondaga Nation, Syracuse University’s Office of the Chancellor, SU Athletics, the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA), and the Skä·noñh – Great Law of Peace Center will host the inaugural Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Wooden Stick Lacrosse Expo at the ball fields near the entrance of Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool, N.Y., on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This unique weekend event features stick-making demonstrations, talks by lacrosse legends, games, and clinic presentations by indigenous professional players. Vendors will provide native foods and crafts, and there will be social dancing. All of the players in the games are Native American and will be using only traditional wooden sticks and handmade leather balls. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the Wooden Stick Lacrosse Expo and schedule updates, visit www.facebook.com/woodenstickexpo, or call 428-1864, ext. 314.
Parking for the expo is free and available at Onondaga Lake Park. Public transportation is available through the Centro bus service, using the Liverpool Morgan Road Bus No. 48 from Downtown Syracuse to the Village of Liverpool, stopping at Cypress and 1st Streets, and walking down Lake Drive to the expo. See centro.org for more information.
The Wooden Stick Lacrosse Expo is an opportunity to fully experience the great history and legacy of lacrosse as it was played 1,000 years ago, when the original Haudenosaunee, (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and later, the Tuscarora), after centuries of warfare, formed their confederacy based upon “The Great Law of Peace” at Onondaga Lake. The Haudenosaunee refer to lacrosse as “The Creator’s Game” and recognize its role in bringing together the five original nations. In story of the origin of The Great Law, lacrosse is called Deyhontsigwa’ehs (“They Bump Hips”) by the Onondaga, and, according to tradition, it is played for the pleasure of the Creator. The Haudenosaunee Wooden Stick Lacrosse Expo will celebrate the local, indigenous roots of lacrosse, whose popularity continues to spread around the globe and is the fastest growing sport in the United States.
The event begins Saturday morning with a traditional opening ceremony, conducted by Tadadaho Sidney Hill. Professional indigenous players Brett Bucktooth, Tyler Hill, Jeremy Thompson, Lyle Thompson and Miles Thompson from the Iroquois Nationals, Onondaga Redhawks, and other teams will conduct clinic demonstrations from 9-10 a.m. on both days. SU men’s lacrosse head coach emeritus Roy Simmons Jr. will speak on Saturday. Lacrosse legend and Onondaga Nation faith keeper Oren Lyons '58, H'93, will give a talk on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the media tent. On both days, social dancing will go from noon-1 p.m., and games will be played from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A closing ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Throughout the weekend, master wooden lacrosse stick maker and box lacrosse player Alf Jacques will demonstrate the long process of cutting, shaping, carving, and webbing his highly prized hickory lacrosse sticks, a skill that he learned from his father. A raffle will be held for wooden sticks, including ones made by Jacques and Jack Johnson, as well as other lacrosse items.
With a festival atmosphere, the expo will include more than 30 Native American vendors, featuring a wide variety of indigenous foods, including corn soup, buffalo burgers, and fry bread. There will also be many Native American artists and crafters, showcasing beadwork, carvings, drums, sculpture, paintings, leatherwork, ceramics, and jewelry, along with wooden lacrosse sticks. Custom-designed T-shirts and hats will also be available for sale.
The Skä·noñh–Great Law of Peace Center, located on Onondaga Lake Parkway at the site of the facility formerly known as Ste. Marie Among the Iroquois and managed by OHA, is planned to open as a Haudenosaunee heritage center. Skä·noñh is an Onondaga greeting that means "peace and wellness." The Skä·noñh Center is a collaborative effort of the Onondaga Nation, Syracuse University, Onondaga County, OHA, Le Moyne College, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Onondaga Community College, and SUNY Empire State College.