For most high school athletes, balancing responsibilities in the classroom with the rigors of training and practice is daunting enough. But as this series of videos shows, the challenges for the players on the Salmon River High girls lacrosse team were greater still. See how this group of Native American girls worked to overcome cultural and financial obstacles to play the game they love.
Watch the Series
What do sports mean to you? For the girls of the Salmon River lacrosse team, sports are more than an after-school activity. Lacrosse is their heritage and has traditionally been a symbol of hope for their people. Originally forbidden from competing, they are their community’s first generation of female lacrosse players, flipping tradition on its head and shattering cultural and societal expectations.
Find out how lacrosse helped Team Captain Tsieboo manages the pressure and expectations from her community and her family. Tsieboo’s mother, a tribal Clan mother, must rethink her elders’ stance on girls playing a sacred, man’s game.
Sisters Jacelyn and Mimi have been playing lacrosse their whole lives. It brings them closer as sisters and opens up opportunities for their future. With college scouts watching, they must fight for the very existence of their team in the face of massive budget cuts.
The girls of the Salmon River lacrosse team all play for different reasons, but goalie Marcella plays for tradition. Overcoming her fear as she faces down her opponents, she struggles with the mental challenges of the position. As her teammates rally around her with support, the team mothers come together to raise more funds to help keep the varsity lacrosse team alive.
With the first game of the season approaching, the girls of the Salmon River lacrosse team still don’t know if their team will have the money it needs to play. As a last-ditch effort to secure school funding for the upcoming season, the girls personally make their case to the school board and explain what lacrosse means to them.
Keepers of the Game
We are proud to partner with Emmy Award winning Director Judd Ehrlich to present our latest documentary feature film, Keepers of the Game. Born in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, lacrosse began as a scared game, traditionally reserved for men. Just off the reservation at Salmon River High School in Fort Covington, NY, an all-Native girls lacrosse team comes together, seeking to be the first Native women's team to bring home a Section Championship. But first, they will have to overcome their crosstown rivals, Massena High.
As the season comes to a head, the team is faced with increasing ambivalence from their own community and the girls must prove that the game of lacrosse is their rightful inheritance. With more than just the championship on the line, the girls fight to blaze a new path for the next generation of Native women, while still honoring their people's tradition in a changing world.