Rapid City lacrosse team bringing Native American healing to UVA

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UVA Lacrosse, Sept. 26,2017 UVA Lacrosse, Sept. 26,2017

In the wake of the racial tensions in Charlottesville, Va., a local lacrosse team is collaborating with the University of Virginia to help bring about change.

The 7 Flames Lacrosse program in Rapid City is partnering with UVA to host a Native American healing game in place of their annual alumni game.

"The game of lacrosse is different than any other game you'll ever play,” said UVA Head Coach Lars Tiffany. “Because this game actually really ties in to the Native American way, the balance of love of nature, love of family and sense of community centers around a sport.”

A game that was once played to overcome conflict in the Native American culture is now being used as a platform for the Charlottesville community and students to heal from the tensions of social controversy.

"The game has provided everything from teaching our young kids - our young boys - engagement of war." said Cody Hall, coach of 7 Flames Lacrosse. “The historical value of it is that long ago we went into battle hand to hand combat … we would walk with a Chanupa, our pipe, on one leg, and then we would have our scull cracker on the other leg. And what that signified is that we come in peace."

Native Americans historically played lacrosse to resolve issues between tribes. Now, two Native American 7 Flames Lacrosse players, and Coach Hall, along with representatives from five different tribes, will host a healing game to share their way of overcoming conflicting differences.

"I think it’s a good thing that we are going to UVA to show our part of our culture, which is lacrosse after what happened," said Angelo Ruiz, a 7 Flames Lacrosse player.

One of the top-rated schools in the country, UVA will go head to head with alumni - including a Native American player - focusing on overcoming the tensions surrounding the area.

"Our essence and what we know is still simplistic to this day, and that’s why we are here to share this with you guys and let it go,” said Hall.

The game is planned for Oct. 16.

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