This week on Lacrosse History, I’m gonna tell you where Lacrosse got it’s modern name from. I’m Justin Skaggs and I’m a wood lacrosse stick maker, and part of this whole process us making sure I do my homework about the history of the game, so I can take what I learn, and give it back out to the community.
First of all, “lacrosse” is not a Native American word, which, I think, is apparent, because it doesn’t necessarily sound like any of the Native American words you may have been introduced to in the past. Every tribe and people have their own word for lacrosse, which often translated into completely different English translations. Here are a few examples:
dehuntshigwa’es in Onondaga (“men hit a rounded object”)
da-nah-wah’uwsdi in Eastern Cherokee (“little war”)
begadwe in Mohawk language (“little brother of war”)
baaga`adowe in Ojibwe (“bump hips”)
kabucha in Choctaw
There are so many interesting names for this game, from the originators of the game that I actually want to focus on that more specifically and give each one its own video, so let’s just talk about the word “lacrosse.” The modern word was coined by missionaries who came over to the North American continent and wrote about the game when they went back to Europe. A single missionary by the name of Jean de Brébeuf is actually given the accolade of coining the phrase, “lacrosse” while he was describing a game that he saw in Northern Canada.
The word itself is actually an association. For example, the stick resembles a Crosier that a bishop might carry. It may also be a comparison of this stick to the field hockey stick that is already being used in field hockey, which is a sport that existed at the same time simultaneously back in Europe. Now, the reason we still use the word Lacrosse to this day is because it was actually formulated in the rulebooks in the mid-1800s, and over time, just got institutionalized into the game nationwide. Just to reiterate, there will be a video on every single name of the game that I can find in every book that I have, and I will bring that out to you guys. If you guys want to find out more about this particular subject, you can find it in the description. I hope you guys learned something, and as always, I’m Justin Skaggs. Take care, and keep laxin’.