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Fostering Movement Skills with Indigenous Games: 2 Ways to Share Lacrosse with Your Class

As educators, we are responsible for providing a comprehensive and inclusive learning experience for our students. Indigenous games are a source of physical activity and an opportunity for students to learn the deep-rooted spiritual significance and traditions of the First Nations peoples. 

Cultural Awareness and Inclusivity

Indigenous games hold deep-rooted spiritual and cultural significance for many Indigenous communities, including the Haudenosaunee, the originators of lacrosse. Traditionally known as Tewaarathon, or “little brother of war,” lacrosse is more than just a sport; it is a highly ceremonial event to honour the Creator. Through these games, communities come together to celebrate, heal, and support one another, especially during times of loss.

By incorporating Indigenous games into our physical education curriculum, we create an opportunity to honour and respect the diverse cultures of our students. Introducing the historical context and significance of lacrosse helps students understand the deeper meaning behind the game, going beyond the surface of athletics. Educators can instill cultural awareness and appreciation while fostering essential movement skills.

Incorporating Lacrosse into Your Class’ Learning

This blog introduces two exciting activities from the resource “Games Celebrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing”. These activities not only focus on developing essential movement skills but also introduce the sport of lacrosse to students:

Popcorn Lacrosse

“Popcorn Lacrosse” is a dynamic tag game that embraces the excitement of running with a lacrosse stick while maintaining control of the ball or beanbag.

  • Set up a 20-meter playing field and equip students with lacrosse sticks and balls. For our younger students (K–3), provide beanbags for cradling, while older students (Grades 4–7) can use lacrosse balls. 
  • Designate one or two students as taggers, and let the game begin! 
  • The objective is simple – students must travel across the field without getting tagged. 
  • A tag occurs when a tagger pops the ball or beanbag out of a student’s stick. 
  • If tagged, the student joins the taggers’ team and tries to pop the beanbag from other students’ sticks. 
  • The game continues until only one student remains – the ultimate popcorn popper champion!

Cradle the Rock

“Cradle the Rock” takes students on an exhilarating obstacle course designed to develop agility, balance, and endurance. 

  • Create a course with cones, hurdles, and directional changes not exceeding 20 meters. Divide students into teams of 3–4 and provide each team with a lacrosse ball. 
  • On the educator’s signal, the first student on each team races through the obstacle course, cradling the lacrosse ball in their stick. 
  • Dropping the ball requires the student to start over. 
  • Once they complete the course successfully, they pass the ball to the next teammate in line. The first team to have all members complete the course wins the round.

Incorporating Indigenous games like “Popcorn Lacrosse” and “Cradle the Rock” not only fosters essential movement skills but also serves as a gateway to understanding the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous communities. By embracing diversity and inclusivity in our physical education programs, we create an environment that respects and celebrates the traditions and history of Indigenous peoples. 

Looking for more activities like these? Visit the Indigenous Resources webpage on our website, to access resources like Linking Indigenous Cultural Sports and Activities to Physical Literacy.