September 2 - October 28, 2017

Bumping Hips: A History of Lacrosse

The Vestal Museum puts its lens on an important local game.

Bumping Hips: A History of Lacrosse looks at a Native American stick game that has been played in many forms for thousands of years throughout North America. There is evidence that a form of the game was played in Canada as early as 1100 AD. Lacrosse traditionally had many different purposes. Some games were played to settle intertribal disputes. This function was essential to keeping the Six Nations of Iroquois together. Lacrosse was also played to toughen young warriors for combat, for recreation, as part of festivals, and for the bets involved. Finally, lacrosse was played for religious reasons: “for the pleasure of the Creator” and to collectively pray for something. French Jesuit missionaries working in the St. Lawrence Valley in the 1630s were the first Europeans to see lacrosse being played by the Native American Indians. Westerners became interested in the sport and the game played by the Haudenosaunee is the basis of the form of Lacrosse that is played all over the world today.

In this exhibition we will highlight the history of Native American Stick Ball and the different tribes who played the game in unique ways. We will look at the Onondaga Community and their gift of Lacrosse to the world. Alfred Jacques the Onondaga traditional stick maker, will create a stick for the museum that will be on display. Alfred Jacques will speak on September 16 at 1:00pm

Bob Carpenter, a Vestal graduate, Division 1 Lacrosse player, and creator and editor of the premiere Lacrosse Magazine “Inside Lacrosse” has generously loaned items for the exhibition, and will speak at our opening on September 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm. We will look at the ancient and modern history of Lacrosse in our area. A celebration of the history of a sport who’s heart is here in Upstate NY.


September 2, 2017. Opening of Bumping Hips: A History of Lacrosse
1:00 talk with Bob Carpenter. Exhibition runs through Saturday October 28.

September 16, 2017 10-4. Haudenosaunee Festival

A collaborative Event by The Vestal Museum and The Vestal Public Library.

Speakers include Onondaga lacrosse stick maker Alfred Jacques at 1:00pm, Tony Gonyea at 2:00pm and (Tony’s sister) at 3:00pm.

Images Courtesy Zach Heffner and Bob Carpenter.

This event was made possible by grants from the Community Foundation and The Chenango Arts Council.

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