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Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans

Overview

An ancient Native American sport, lacrosse was originally played to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, and develop strong, virile men. In Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans, Thomas Vennum draws on centuries of oral tradition to collect thirteen legends from five tribes-the Cherokee, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Seneca, Ojibwa, and Menominee. Reflecting the game's origins and early history, these myths provide a glimpse into Native American life and the role of the "Creator's Game" ...
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Overview

An ancient Native American sport, lacrosse was originally played to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, and develop strong, virile men. In Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans, Thomas Vennum draws on centuries of oral tradition to collect thirteen legends from five tribes-the Cherokee, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Seneca, Ojibwa, and Menominee. Reflecting the game's origins and early history, these myths provide a glimpse into Native American life and the role of the "Creator's Game" in tribal culture.

From the Great Game in which the Birds defeated the Quadrupeds to high-stakes contests after which the losers literally lost their heads, these stories reveal the fascinating spiritual world of the first lacrosse players as well as the violent reality of the original sport. Lacrosse enthusiasts will learn about game equipment, ritual preparations, dress, and style of play, from stick handling to scoring. They will discover how the "coach"-a medicine man-conjured potions to prevent game injuries or make the opponent's leg cramp as well as how early craftsmen identified the perfect tree-marked by a lightning strike-from which to carve a lacrosse stick.

The game is no longer played by large numbers of men on mile-long fields, and plastic, titanium, and nylon have replaced hickory and ash, leather, and catgut. As lacrosse continues to evolve, this collection will help us remember and understand its rich and complex history.

About the Author:
Thomas Vennum is senior ethnomusicologist emeritus at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

A strong contribution to Native American studies, sports history, and folklore. Recommended.

Journal of Sports Sciences

It is to Vennum's credit that he has brought these legends to a wider audience and demonstrated the relevance of what might seem at first glance unpromising territory for sport scientists.

— Alan Bairner

Choice

A strong contribution to Native American studies, sports history, and folklore.

Journal of Sports Sciences
It is to Vennum's credit that he has brought these legends to a wider audience and demonstrated the relevance of what might seem at first glance unpromising territory for sport scientists.

— Alan Bairner

Journal of Sports Sciences - Alan Bairner

It is to Vennum's credit that he has brought these legends to a wider audience and demonstrated the relevance of what might seem at first glance unpromising territory for sport scientists.

Choice

A strong contribution to Native American studies, sports history, and folklore.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801886287
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/6/2007
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Vennum is senior ethnomusicologist emeritus at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. He is the author of American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War. He is retired and living in Tucson, Arizona, where he continues research among Indian tribes in Sonora, Mexico, specifically the Seri.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Animals as Star Players     17
The Great Game in Which the Birds Defeat the Quadrupeds     18
A Dog's Power Beats the Old Chief     30
Game Equipment from the Upper World     49
The Pale Moon     49
Playing with an Evil Head     56
The First Lacrosse Ball     59
Wagers and Warriors     65
Playing for Heads     65
Wakayabide Is Killed Playing Lacrosse and Later Takes Revenge     72
The Warriors of the Ho-Chunk Nation Struggle on Home Turf     83
Tricksters and Culture Heroes     97
He Who Wears Human Heads for Earrings Defeats the Giants     98
Manabus Is Dogged by Waves     110
Why the Turkey Buzzard Has a Red Scabby Neck     119
Trees to Stop the Action     131
Snakes around the Neck     131
An Unusual Penalty Box     137
Conclusion     145
Ethnographic Index     157
Bibliographic Note     159
Index     163
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