Introduction: Redefining 'Our Country and Our Game'


Indigenous representative during the opening ceremonies of the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

Lacrosse: a sport seemingly unknown to most Canadians. Yet lacrosse was instrumental as a tool of positivity to Indigenous groups, and later a sport of the future “reduced to rule by the whites.”1 On April 11, 2019, the Canada Games Council announced the introduction of men’s and women’s lacrosse as a pilot program for the upcoming Summer Games in Niagara.2 This will in fact be the reintroduction of men’s lacrosse, which had been an event at the Games from 1969 to 1985, while women have never previously competed in the sport at the Games. The announcement comes in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) report about the necessity of Indigenous inclusion and the power of unity in sport.3


Team Alberta goaltender Eastman takes a break during a men's box lacrosse game against Team Ontario, 1985.

This exhibit provides an overview of the history and evolution of lacrosse and reveals how the sport’s changing role at the Canada Games reflects two major developments in Canadian sports since the 1980s: ongoing efforts to Indigenize sporting events, and the greater inclusion of women’s events in national and international competitions. The removal of lacrosse from the Canada Games was a simple decision, but its return provides a voice for Indigenous groups and female athletes to redefine what it means to be Canadian. Once again, lacrosse is a sport of the future, but this time it is used to better understand how everyone deserves the respect and recognition they are entitled to in both sports and society.

Introduction: Redefining 'Our Country and Our Game'