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NOVEMBER 1, 2012


"The Indian Origins of Lacrosse"

Another game is with a crooked stick, and ball made of leather stufft with hair: he wins that drives it from the other between two trees appointed for the goal. This tantalizing sports tidbit chronicles an early Powhatan Indian version of one of the lasting, and today thriving, gifts of our Native American predecessors, the game of lacrosse. It appears in a document dated 1689 and is titled An Account of the Indians in Virginia. Native Americans were playing versions of lacrosse long before it became the popular game of today. Their versions of the game, though, were much more physical and even violent than the modern game, leading the Choctaw to call it "little brother of war." Learn more in this article from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal.

Primary Source of the Month

Ball-play of the Choctaw--Ball Up by George Catlin
Ball-play of the Choctaw—Ball Up
George Catlin, 1846–1850
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Lacrosse was created by Native Americans, who played a version of the game much different than the one played today across the country. This painting portrays hundreds of Choctaw Indian men and boys playing a game similar to lacrosse near Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. Despite the game's violence, painter George Catlin described it as "a school for the painter or sculptor, equal to any of those which ever inspired the hand of the artist in the Olympian games or the Roman forum."

Emissaries of Peace EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is Emissaries of Peace
November 8, 2012

Teaching News

Election-Related Online Activities

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Don't forget to VOTE! Throughout this country's history, various groups have been denied the franchise. Some, like women and African Americans, struggled for generations for the right to vote. Even after the Constitution was amended to expand the franchise for these groups, they still faced opposition. Today, voting laws can make it easier or more difficult for certain groups to vote. In the web activity Battle for the Vote, students must decide what voting rules should apply—and keep the Voter Villain from rigging the election!

Older students may enjoy this Electoral Map Quiz from Slate. We often think of elections as decided by a few key swing states, but some past elections have been won by a landslide, and others were determined by unexpected states. Students can try their hand at matching historic elections to their Electoral College vote maps.

A Historical View of Hurricanes

Want to know more about hurricanes and how they have affected American history? Check out our March 2009 Teacher Gazette on hurricanes.

Colonial Williamsburg CONNECT

June Podcasts

The Idea of America
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.

Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg


Teacher Community

Teaching Strategy: Let the Game Begin! Native American Lacrosse

Lacrosse has been played in various forms by Native American groups for centuries. Most used a long-handled stick with a netted basket attached. The ball would be thrown and caught with the basket, and the goal was to get the ball through a goal. In this lesson, students will analyze a painting of a Native American lacrosse game using the OPTICS method, explore a brief overview of lacrosse's history, and create a media broadcast script to narrate the action of a game.

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2012–2013 Teaching Resources Catalog

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality American history instructional materials, including:

  • American Indian Bandolier Bag Hands-on History Kit
  • Mapping Colonial America CD-ROM

Check out our specials, including 50% off lesson units!

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun

Quotation of the Month

"When you talk about lacrosse, you're talking about the lifeblood of the Six Nations. The game is ingrained into our culture and our lives. This is our game and our gift to the world."

—Oren Lyons, Jr., Mother Earth Journal, 7/12/10. Lyons is a Native American faithkeeper of the turtle clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. In 1989, he was named Lacrosse Player of the Year by the NCAA.

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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning,
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

2011 AEP Finalist
Distinguished Achievement Award Finalist 2011
Association of Educational Publishers

The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part
by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

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