Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Six Nations trio go west to share the game

Lorelee Belisle is on the recruiting trail these days.
Belisle, the vice president for aboriginal development with the Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association, is criss-crossing the province this week to promote the sport. To help her cause, Belisle is bringing along three residents of the Six Nations of the Grand River, an Ontario First Nation that is renowned in the lacrosse world.
"My goal is to get more First Nations kids playing the sport," Belisle said. "I've been doing this (job) for three years now. We bring in guys from Six Nations and when they talk to youth about the origins of the game and its cultural meaning and then show them the skills, it turns out better for us."
"A lot of what we're trying to do is make kids get up, get active and get involved," added Kevin Sandy, a product of Six Nations and the director of operations for the Iroquois Lacrosse Program. "Even though it's the fastest-growing team sport in North America, we need more coaches and more officials. As the game grows, kids want to get involved."
Sandy, Cam Bomberry (the director of lacrosse for the Iroquois Lacrosse Program) and Roger Vyse (a member of the National Lacrosse League's Buffalo Bandits) started their visits Tuesday. One of those was at Sacred Heart School, where they demonstrated some skills and conditioning techniques.
Over the next two days, the group is to visit a number of First Nations communities across Saskatchewan to promote lacrosse. Not only are the visitors to hand out 36 lacrosse sticks and 36 balls at each stop, they'll also discuss the game's cultural connection to First Nations people.
"A lot of the kids do not know (about that)," said Sandy, who noted that conversation is "a huge component" of the group's presentation. "They know different nations had different versions of the game, but a lot of kids don't know where the game came from.
"To me, that's just a natural extension," he added. "A lot of things have been pushed down over the years. It's part of our education and part of our responsibility to come out and share that knowledge."
To read the rest of the story by Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post click here http://www.leaderpost.com/sports/Saskatchewan+Lacrosse+Association+aims+recruit+more+First+Nations+kids/4445097/story.html#ixzz1GjZv9CIh

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