University of Windsor event highlights “Lacrosse as Medicine”
It was a day of celebrating lacrosse and its significance in Indigenous culture at the University of Windsor Monday.
The Faculty of Human Kinetics hosted “Lacrosse as Medicine” with Rain Whited, a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames and former competitive lacrosse player for the Windsor Warlocks, Windsor Clippers, and Wallaceburg Red Devils. The day began with Whited giving a guest lecture in the Ethics in Sport and Physical Activity course, followed by hands-on lacrosse workshops in the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse. As part of the events, traditional Indigenous food— fry bread, Three Sisters Soup, and meat stew— was available for sampling.
First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students invited from local high schools joined university students, faculty, and staff for the special day.
“Lacrosse touches on all directions of my life — mind, body, spirit, and emotion,” Whited said, “It’s an honour to be called on to share my story of the sport and share tradition.”
Kinesiology professor Dr. Krista Loughead said she was delighted to be able to invite Whited to campus.
“Rain was able to demonstrate to our campus community how for an Indigenous person lacrosse is more than a sport or competition,” Dr. Loughead said. “He was able to share how he views lacrosse as medicine for him as an Indigenous person and what that exactly means to him.”
Whited, 27, began playing lacrosse when he was four, ending competitive play at 21 when he aged out of local leagues. He still tries to incorporate the game into his daily life, carrying his lacrosse stick whenever he goes for a run near his Walkerville home.
“Lacrosse is part of me. “It’s something I’ve always done,” Whited said.
“Lacrosse was a gift from the Creator to entertain the Creator and our ancestors in the spirit world, nature, and our community that is watching,” he said. “It is not only providing medicine for us as players, but to those who have gathered to watch.”
Monday’s event was made possible by contributions from the UWindsor Office of the Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations and Outreach, the Faculty of Human Kinetics’ Department of Kinesiology, and a Nanadagikenim (Seek-to-Know) grant from the UWindsor Centre for Teaching and Learning. The Seek-to-Know grant helps integrate more Indigenous content into the faculty’s curriculum.
“I am so grateful that Rain has been invited to share his thoughts about how lacrosse has helped in his own healing and well-being,” said Dr. Beverly Jacobs, Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations and Outreach. “He is an excellent role model to students.”