WYANDOTTE, Okla. — One Northeast Oklahoma community is putting the focus on the sport of lacrosse this week.
The Wyandotte Nation and the Missouri State University men’s lacrosse team are hosting a youth lacrosse camp.
“In this area, there’s so many kids that just are looking for opportunities to do new things and get excited about. And so, having the opportunity to get out here and work with them and introduce them to something that they’ve never done before, it’s just a lot of fun. And hopefully, you know, they enjoy themselves, have a great time, and when kids are having fun, they want to do it more. And so, I’m hoping just organically, it kind of grows the sport in our area,” said Donnie Curran, Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach, Missouri State University.
The goal is to bring the cultural sport of lacrosse back to the area.
“We want to bring that back to our people and to the people within the community. So, we started several years back with this lacrosse camp and we want to encourage everybody in the community to learn our ways because we want to partner with everybody in the community, so we eventually want to start a lacrosse league and make it more popular within this area. And, a lot of people don’t realize that it is actually created by Native Americans and we want to change that narrative. We want to be the ones that are pushing that in this area,” said Kim Garcia, Cultural Preservation Officer, Wyandotte Nation.
50 youth registered to participate in the camp that began on Tuesday and will wrap up on Thursday.
“When you’re wanting to run, and you have to cradle because if you don’t cradle it, the ball is going to fall out and the others are going to make a goal off of it. We’re basically learning how to make a goal, cradle it, and technically doing everything that’s possible to help you learn and get better,” said Tj Proffitt, lacrosse camp participant.
For many of the kids, this is their first time trying out the sport.
“I would definitely play lacrosse because I find it kind of soothing because there aren’t that many rules, but you do have to follow some of them and it makes it pretty much easier with it,” said Brooklyn Hobbs, Lacrosse Camp Participant.
In an effort to bring back lacrosse, the Wyandotte Nation Tribe plans to build a brand new lacrosse field at the Pow-Wow Grounds.