Paperback / softback
January 2, 2008
10.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
0.88 Inches (US)
1.5 Pounds (US)
$32.00 USD, £23.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

American Indian Lacrosse

Little Brother of War

To understand the aboriginal roots of lacrosse, one must enter a world of spiritual belief and magic where players sewed inchworms into the innards of lacrosse balls and medicine men gazed at miniature lacrosse sticks to predict future events, where bits of bat wings were twisted into the stick's netting, and where famous players were—and are still—buried with their sticks. Here Thomas Vennum brings this world to life.

About the Author

Thomas Vennum, senior ethnomusicologist emeritus at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., is the author of Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans. Retired and living in Tucson, Arizona, he continues research among Indian tribes in Sonora, Mexico, specifically the Seri.


"In a mix of narrative, interviews, analysis, and tribal lore, Mr. Vennum has crafted a complex and entertaining book... American Indian Lacrosse offers a sweeping new perspective on a game that has functioned, at various times, as symbolic combat ritual, healing ceremony, gambling spectacle, war ruse, and intercollegiate sport."

- Washington Times

"Brings the game's cultural complexities and historical roles to life... A major contribution to the cultural history of sport."

- American Anthropologist

"This exhaustive, well-documented work serves as a definitive study of the sport in its traditional form. A worthy addition to core subject and Native American collections."

- Library Journal

"This book presents a rare account."

- Book News

"An important study and a good read... Vennum's writing style is an alluring blend of hygienic academic analysis and historical accounts, narratives and interviews, a style used deliberately throughout the book... His book is a compelling journey into the historical exploration of an old team sport."

- Halvdan Haugsbakken -

"An interesting recount of the various ways that Indians utilized the game in their cultural, social, and curative worlds."

- Joe Watkins - Journal of Anthropological Research


"From the first great super bowls of America, those heroic, spiritual contests played out on mile-long arenas for days at a time, to the modern box game on struggling reservations, Indian lacrosse is a telling thread in our national tapestry, and Tom Vennum has brought it to life."

- Robert Lipsyte, New York Times sports columnist

"In our attempts to be better, to be successful, to be champions, American Indian Lacrosse helps us achieve greater reward—understanding the essence of the game."

- David Klarmann, head lacrosse coach, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Never before has the story of American Indian lacrosse been told in such a way... [Vennum] explains how the sports world failed to give proper recognition to what was once solely a Native American game."

- Mark Burnam, 1993 Major Indoor Lacrosse League Champion
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 18

9780801887642 : american-indian-lacrosse-vennum
Paperback / softback
376 Pages
$32.00 USD

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Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans

Thomas Vennum
Jul 2007 - Johns Hopkins University Press
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