Timeline of the Indigenous history of lacrosse News Staff

A short timeline of how Indigenous people were pushed out of lacrosse competition and their efforts to return:

1637: First European observation of “la crosse.”

1823: Year to which the oldest surviving lacrosse stick is dated.

1844: First recorded match between Indigenous (Mohawk) and non-Indigenous players takes place in Quebec.

1860: William George Beers, a dentist and lacrosse enthusiast, writes a pamphlet setting out rules of lacrosse.

1867: Formation of National Lacrosse Association (forerunner of the Canadian Lacrosse Association).

1869: Beers publishes guide and rulebook “Lacrosse: The National Game of Canada.” Among the rules: “No Indian must play in a match for a white club, unless previously agreed upon.”

1880: National Lacrosse Association becomes an amateur organization. Indigenous players are barred from championship competition.

1904: Two teams — the Mohawk Indians and the Winnipeg Shamrocks — compete for Canada at the Olympic Games in St. Louis. 

1983: Formation of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team

1988: International Lacrosse Federation (now World Lacrosse) approves the Iroquois Nationals as a member nation.

1990: Iroquois Nationals compete in the first international lacrosse match by Indigenous peoples since the 1880 ruling.

1994: Parliament declares lacrosse Canada’s national summer sport.

2014: Iroquois Nationals receive their first medal (bronze) in field lacrosse at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship.

2018: International Olympic Committee grants lacrosse provisional status for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

2020: Iroquois Nationals initially excluded from participating in the 2022 World Games, but later included following voluntary withdrawal by the Irish national team.

The Canadian Press

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