The new owners of the Minnesota Swarm professional lacrosse team in St. Paul build outreach program to the Native people in the Twin Cities and Minnesota.
Baseball might be the all-American sport, but lacrosse is a game that can only be called the First American sport. Eastern nations such as the Cherokee and the Haudenosaunee (people of the Iroquois Confederacy) consider lacrosse to be a game given to them by the Creator. Lacrosse still enjoys deep religious and cultural ties to these First Nations.
It is these strong cultural ties that the new owners of the Minnesota
Swarm professional lacrosse team in St. Paul hope to build on with an
aggressive outreach program to the 55,000 native people in the Twin
Cities and greater Minnesota and a renewed commitment to developing the
next generation of homegrown American Indian lacrosse players.
“We owe the great game of lacrosse to Native Americans and we have a
strong desire to honor the tradition of the game by helping young
natives in Minnesota reconnect with the game that has been so important
to their heritage,” said owner John Arlotta. “Our hope is that the
examples set by the Native American player and coach on the Minnesota
Swarm will serve as an inspiration to young natives to take up the game
The rosters of the Swarm and the other 11 teams of the National
Lacrosse League are made up of 23 percent American Indian players.
Lacrosse is not just the oldest, but the fastest growing sport in the
Members of the Swarm ownership and management met with members of the
American Indian Community in March at the team’s headquarters to
brainstorm ideas for increased involvement in the local native
community and suggestions for an American Indian night planned for the
April 18 game against the New York Titans.
Among the attendees were representatives of St. Paul, Minneapolis and
Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan schools (three of the state’s four largest
districts, each with significant American Indian student populations),
as well as native business owners, parents and youth. The group urged
the team to focus their efforts on the long-term and to make sure that
their outreach to native youth had a strong cultural component.
The American Indian night planned for April 18 will actually begin that
afternoon with a player clinic on the field for native youth. Travis
Hill, a hard-hitting defenseman and crowd favorite, will be on hand to
inspire the next generation of native lacrosse stars. Hall of Famer
Duane Jacobs, coach of the Swarm and native of the Six Nations Reserve
in Canada, will join Hill for the clinic and a private
question-and-answer session after the game. Special lower-level tickets
for the 7 p.m. game start at $10.
“We are looking to build on this event each each year to incorporate
more features to help educate the Swarm fans about the history of
lacrosse and its native roots,” said owner Andy Arlotta, John’s son.
“Eventually, we would like to bring the traditional outdoor game to
Minnesota and allow our fans to learn more about lacrosse. With the
help of the native community, we can encourage children to be excited
about playing lacrosse again.”
The team will also be working with local school leaders to expand
lacrosse into schools with significant native student populations. The
Swarm also plans to continue its meetings with local native community
members to strengthen relationships and gather ideas for more
American Indian Night
Minnesota Swarm vs. N.Y. Titans
7 p.m. Saturday, April 18
(youth-player clinic begins at 3 p.m.)
Xcel Center, St. Paul
Lower-level tickets start at $10
For more information contact: Brett Miller, (651) 312-3494 or firstname.lastname@example.org