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The games were felt to interfere with church attendance and the wagering to have an impoverishing effect on the Indians.When Oklahoma Choctaw began to attach lead weights to their sticks around 1900 to use them as skull-crackers, the game was outright banned.There is no evidence of non-Indians taking up the game until the mid-nineteenth century, when English-speaking Montrealers adopted the Mohawk game they were familiar with from Caughnawauga and Akwesasne, attempted to "civilize" the sport with a new set of rules and organize into amateur clubs.Once the game quickly grew in popularity in Canada, it began to be exported throughout the Commonwealth, as non-Native teams traveled to Europe for exhibition matches against Iroquois players.Although isolated reports exist of some form of lacrosse among northern California and British Columbia tribes, their late date brings into question any widespread diffusion of the sport on the west coast.On the basis of the equipment, the type of goal used and the stick-handling techniques, it is possible to discern three basic forms of lacrosse—the southeastern, Great Lakes, and Iroquoian.Game equipment and players are still ritually prepared by conjurers, and team selection and victory are often considered supernaturally controlled.In the past, lacrosse also served to vent aggression, and territorial disputes between tribes were sometimes settled with a game, although not always amicably.

Early data on lacrosse, from missionaries such as French Jesuits in Huron country in the 1630s and English explorers, such as Jonathan Carver in the mid-eighteenth century Great Lakes area, are scant and often conflicting.Among southeastern tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Yuchi and others), a double-stick version of the game is still practiced.A two-and-a half foot stick is held in each hand, and the soft, small deerskin ball is retrieved and cupped between them.Lacrosse was one of many varieties of indigenous stickball games being played by American Indians at the time of European contact.Almost exclusively a male team sport, it is distinguished from the others, such as field hockey or shinny, by the use of a netted racquet with which to pick the ball off the ground, throw, catch and convey it into or past a goal to score a point.

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