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Associate Director of External Affairs | Cheryl Reitan | creitan@d.umn.edu | (218) 726-8996
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April 10, 2012
Rick Smith | Director, American Indian Learning Resource Center | 218 726-6379| rsmith1@d.umn.edu
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141| banovetz@d.umn.edu
Cheryl Reitan | Assoc. Director of External Affairs | 218 726-8996 | creitan@d.umn.edu


UofM and UMD Support Lacrosse Camp for American Indian Youth

On Friday, April 13 at 2 pm, University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Chancellor Lendley C. Black, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Chairwoman Karen Diver, and other representatives of the University of Minnesota will sign a memorandum of agreement providing support for a summer lacrosse camp for youth. The signing event will be held at the Fond du Lac Tribal Government Offices, 1720 Big Lake Road, Cloquet, Minnesota.

UMD became involved with the initiative in 2010 when UMD's Lacrosse Team Head Coach Frank Clark began meeting with Bryan "Bear" Bosto, manager of the Brookston Community Center on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Clark and Bosto wanted to bring the indigenous sport of lacrosse to American Indian boys and girls. Bosto went on to become one of the co-founders of the LAX-4-Life Camp held at the Cloquet Forestry Center.

According to the agreement, the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) will provide housing fees to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, to support housing for youth so they can attend the camp. Funding of up to $10,000 per year will extend for five years, through 2016.

The camp offers more than training in lacrosse. Classroom sessions cover culturally specific issues about health and wellness, nutrition, diabetes and obesity awareness, and leadership development. "This camp strengthens our region's American Indian community. UMD is pleased to help it continue," said Chancellor Lendley C. Black.

Several organizations share their time and resources to ensure that the camp offers a rewarding experience that develops the self-confidence, cultural awareness and self-esteem of American Indian youth. The organizations, among others, include: the Minnesota Swarm professional LaCrosse team, University of Minnesota Duluth, U.S. Marshals Service, Native American Law Enforcement Summit (NALES), Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Reservation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Oneida Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles, Little Earth of United Tribes, and Prairie Island Indian Community.

The camp has strong support from many organizations and communities. However, the largest single cost is incurred by housing the youth at the Cloquet Forestry Center. The financial support from OED and CFANS are crucial for the camp's ongoing success. The Cloquet Forestry Center offers several important advantages for the program including easy access to their practice field at Fond du Lac and concurrent community classroom sessions.

Frank Clark said, "This is an exciting step. The UMD Lacrosse Team wants to help extend the program. We hope to offer a few scholarships to the LAX-4-Life older players so they can join us at the UMD summer player development camp." UMD has offered to help Fond du Lac expand the program. "We have a great interest in growing the game in our region, not only for the growth of the sport, but for the many benefits it provide for youth and communities," said Clark. "Bryan and the LAX-4-Life camp are making a big difference in people's lives and we look forward to supporting that effort."

Along with UMD's Lendley Black and Fond du Lac's Karen Diver, the signers of the agreement are Rickey Hall, Assistant Vice President, Office for Equity and Diversity; Allen Levine, Dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and Bryan Bosto, Brookston Community Center.

Information about Lacrosse by Thomas Vennum Jr. - Author of American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War
Lacrosse was one of many indigenous stickball games played by American Indians at the time of European contact. Almost exclusively a male team sport, it is distinguished from the others, such as field hockey and shinny, by the use of a netted racquet to pick up the ball, throw, catch and shoot it into a goal to score a point. The cardinal rule in all varieties of lacrosse was that the ball, with few exceptions, must not be touched with the hands.

Based on the type of goal and stick-handling techniques, it is possible to discern three basic forms of lacrosse - Southeastern, Great Lakes, and Northeastern.

Among Southeastern tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole and Yuchi), a double-stick version is still practiced. A two-and-a half foot stick is held in each hand and the soft, small deerskin ball is retrieved and cupped between them. Great Lakes tribes (Ojibwe, Menominee, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Miami, Winnebago and Santee Dakota) used a single three-foot stick. This type of stick terminates in a round, closed pocket about three to four inches in diameter, scarcely larger than the ball, which was usually made of wood, charred and scraped to shape. The Northeastern stick, used among Iroquoian and New England tribes, is the progenitor of all present-day sticks, both in box as well as field lacrosse.



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