With only one month remaining before the 150th Anniversary of Lacrosse celebration kicks off in Montreal, the Canadian Lacrosse foundation announced additional details on the educational and cultural activities that will take place during a media conference on May 16.
The re-enacted game performance, which will illustrate the transformation of lacrosse from a traditional game played by the First Nations to a formalized sport, will feature participants from the Kahnawake Survival School and the McGill University varsity lacrosse team.
The students from Kahnawake will play the role of the pre-contact Kahnawake Mohawk warriors, showcasing the traditional game and the cultural rituals that often accompanied it.
They will later be joined on the field by other Kahnawake lacrosse players to form the 1867 Kahnawake Lacrosse Club, as well as players and alumni from McGill lacrosse, who will depict the 1867 Montreal Lacrosse Club. They will work together to show how the addition of rules and structure created the modern version of the game that we know today.
“It was important for us to get these local lacrosse teams involved in the re-enacted game, especially those from the Kahnawake Survival School,” said Jim Calder, Manager, 150th Anniversary of Lacrosse Celebration. “For many Canadian’s, lacrosse is simply a sport, but for those young men it’s a cultural activity that their ancestors have been playing for centuries.”
McGill University was the epicentre for the modern game promoted by Dr. George Beers. This scripted game will also feature appearances by Beers, the man who led the codification of the rules back in the late 1860’s, as well as “Big John” who is an amalgamation of two great Kahnawake lacrosse builders – Big John Rice and Big John Canadian.
This unique activity will take place on the Lower Field at McGill University between 2:00pm and 4:00pm on Saturday, June 17. It is free of charge and is open to the general public.
The presenters for the lecture series, which will take place at Redpath Hall on the campus of McGill University, were also revealed.
“This lecture series will add another dimension to the 150th anniversary celebration,” added Calder, “and we’re thrilled to have some great lacrosse historians and academics taking part.”
The traditional aspect of the game will be covered by Tewenhni’tatshon, also known as Louis Delisle, who will speak about the history of lacrosse in nearby Kahnawake; Donald Fisher, professor of history at Niagara County Community College near Buffalo. New York, who will educate attendees on native lacrosse in North America prior to 1867; as well as Daniel Ferland from the University of Sherbrooke, who will give a French lecture on the significance and cultural role of the game.
The role that Canadians played in the international growth of lacrosse will be explained by Don Morrow, professor at Western University, who will talk about nineteenth century lacrosse and its eventual dispersion abroad; and Jane Claydon, current president of Lacrosse Scotland, who will provide an international perspective on women’s lacrosse from 1884 to 1924.
Finally, a lecture from Bruce MacDonald, governor for the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, will focus on the rise and fall of professional lacrosse leagues in Canada from 1901 to 1924.