In April, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNS-BHC) Legacy Fund awarded Twin Cities Native Lacrosse (TCNL) a$50,000 grant to help fund the organi-zation’s efforts to provide Native American youth in the Twin Cities with free field time, league registration, lacrosse equipment, and transportation.
The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
TCNL is a small, non-profit organization founded in 2014 to promote exercise and healthy life ways by engaging Native American youth and families in both traditional Dakota/Ojibwe style-lacrosse and modern-style lacrosse.
TCNL instills cultural values and knowledge around the game of lacrosse as well as provides free access to lacrosse equipment, transportation to practices and games, and participation in competitive league play. Highlights for this summer include travel to compete in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, Canada, an Olympics-style competition for Native American/ First Nations youth from the U.S. and Canada.
To commemorate the MNSBHC Legacy Fund grant dedication, Twin Cities Native Lacrosse hosted an event at Corcoran Park with the members of the first all-female, all-Native lacrosse team, where community leaders, families, and youth participated in a traditional lacrosse game.
“We see many instances in our young athletes where the price of participation in sports like lacrosse prevents kids from playing,” said John Hunter, Director and Coach, Twin Cities Native Lacrosse. “Our organization was founded to remove that burden from these young people to help them stay active and learn lifelong lessons about the roots of this sport and Native American culture. This grant will help us continue our efforts to provide children with better access to the sport in our community.”
Twin Cities Native Lacrosse’s core coaching approach focuses on Native American value around kinship responsibilities and honoring the game. Participating families are not required to have Native American ancestry to join a team, only a desire to learn lacrosse and values rooted in traditional teachings. The organization accepts any young person who wants to play, prioritizing athletes from under-served families and neighborhoods; it emphasizes the importance of equity in sport by encouraging girls as well as boys of all ages to play lacrosse.
“Twin Cities Native Lacrosse is doing an excellent job working with Native youth to increase physical activity and to continue the tradition of this sport that means so much to the history and culture of Minnesota,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNS-BHC Legacy Fund.