At sacred lake, Six Nations honor soul of the wooden stick

Tom Hall (left) with his older brother Randy Hall, a Mohawk and a lacrosse legend within Six Nations. (Family photo)

By Sean Kirst The Buffalo News The first step toward Saturday’s Haudenosaunee Wooden Stick Lacrosse Festival in Syracuse began six years ago, at the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus territory. The Senecas brought together lacrosse players from throughout the Six Nations. They used wooden sticks and a leather ball in what the Iroquois describe as a “medicine game,” a traditional means of thanksgiving, spiritual clarity and healing. After more than 100 people gathered for a game that lasted three hours, Todd Gates and his Seneca teammates from a masters squad followed an old tradition. Gates, who also serves as president of the Seneca Nation, said they brought forward the “medicine ball,” its core made from a small piece of hickory. The Senecas, as the host community, asked if someone would be willing…

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