Lacrosse Profile

The Iroquois are the originators of the modern day game of Lacrosse. Shrouded in time, Lacrosse was played among the Confederacy long before the coming of the Europeans to the shores of North America. It can be said that when the Europeans first came to America, Lacrosse was one of the most popular and widespread games played across the continent and with many variations. The long stick game played internationally today belongs to the Iroquois.

The Iroquois, also known as the Six Nations, represent the indigenous people that originally occupied extensive lands in what is now New York State, southern Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Stretching from the Hudson River and Mohawk Valley through to the northern and central Great Lakes region, a confederacy was formed and it brought together the Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk and Seneca tribes into the first League of Nations in North America. The Tuscarora joined the Confederacy in the mid-1700s to become the sixth member nation.

The Iroquois name for themselves is 'Haudenosaunee' which means "People of the Longhouse". The longhouse symbolizes a way of life where the Six Nations Confederacy live under one common law, think with one mind and speak with one voice. That law is called "Gien na sah nah gonah" the Great Law of Peace. The alliance of the Haudenosaunee created the first United Nations in this land, thus we maintain the oldest, continuously operating form of government in North America. We have lived in northeastern North America for thousands of years. The people of the Six Nations currently residing in New York and Canada remain sovereign and independent. The Iroquois people identify themselves as citizens of their respective nation and travel internationally under their own passports.

Historical evidence indicates that the Iroquois had a significant role in the development of democratic principles in North America and the ideas and concepts of the Iroquois form of government influenced the thinking of Benjamin Franklin, who was instrumental in the development of the American Constitution. All the nations of the confederacy speak dialects of the Iroquois language. The people of the Confederacy belong to any one of the nine family clans (Turtle, Bear, Wolf, Deer, Beaver, Hawk, Heron, Snipe or Eel) of the Haudenosaunee and share many common beliefs and traditions under the Great Law. In 1987, the Congress of the United States unanimously passes Concurrent Resolution S.76, recognizing the contribution of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) to the democratic principles of the Constitution of the United States.

Today, approximately 70,000 plus Iroquois people reside in eighteen communities in the states of New York, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Lacrosse Nation | A History of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse

Lacrosse is not what tends to come to mind when Canada and sports are mentioned in the same breath, though it is the country’s national sport – in summer, at least. The sport has been around for centuries, predating even the European settlement of North America; it is believed the Native Americans invented the game of Lacrosse as early as the 12th century. Lacrosse is not only a sport, but originally was played as a spiritual endeavour, meant to give thanks and praises to the gods, a tradition which the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team follows to this day.

The original version of the game was played with possibly hundreds of players at a time on a field that could range up to a mile in length and would continue for days. Given the number of players, and the physicality lacrosse demands, it is with good reason that the Eastern Cherokee name for the sport roughly translates to “little war.” The game, however, has little to do with inspiring aggression. “We play this game to give enjoyment to the Creator,” clarified Ansley Jemison, general manager of the Iroquois Nationals. Before the game, the team gathers around their spiritual advisor who leads a traditional tobacco-burning rite, among other rituals that prepare the players to take the field.


In the beginning...the Iroquois Indians believed that lacrosse was a gift from the Creator, and it is considered his favourite game; bringing much enjoyment to the Indian people.

French missionary father Jean Brebouf describes “Le jeu de la crosse” as looking like a Bishop crozier
French trader Nicolas Perrot first wrote of the game, stating the there were rules and that the game was played to three goals.
Mohawks teach the game to French Canadians in Montreal.
Ottawa Indians, lead by chief Pontiac, play lacrosse as a diversion and are able to overtake the British at Fort Michilimakinac.
Col. William Stone observes a game between the Mohawk and the Seneca with over 600 players involved.
Mohawks play lacrosse at St. Pierre Race Track in Montreal making it a popular spectator sport.
First official game between the Iroquois and the Canadians started a seventeen year winning streak for the Iroquois.
New rules developed as first lacrosse club formed in Montreal as stick becomes shorter and a smaller playing field is defined.
Iroquois tour England to play lacrosse as Canada makes lacrosse their national sport.
First English Lacrosse club formed in Stockport. Still exists.
American team beats Canadian team for the first time. As Indians are banned from all international play.
Canada wins Olympic Lacrosse Tournament.
Women’s lacrosse begins in England.
Iroquois play in Los Angeles Olympics.
First World Lacrosse Championship won by Team USA.
First NCAA national Lacrosse Championship won by Cornell
Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Program founded.



General Mailing

Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse
PO Box 297
Rooseveltown, NY 13683



Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse
326 Route 11
PO Box 360 Onondaga Nation
via Nedrow, New York 13120



Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse
12 Harbor Road
Akwesasne Ontario Canada
K6H 5R7


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