Tara Kenjockety, undergraduate community engagement librarian, Hesburgh Libraries and member of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Group and Tiffany Gillaspy, music librarian for Hesburgh Libraries hold the flag of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.
Notre Dame’s lacrosse teams were recently recognized at the March 25 men’s game and the March 27 women’s game. Lacrosse, known as “the Creator’s Game” by its Indigenous founders, is considered the oldest team sport played in the Americas. Student leaders from the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) and Indigenous faculty, staff and allies from the Indigenous Employee Resource Group took to the lacrosse field at the respective games to be recognized. The group held the flag of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, honoring the original inhabitants of the land that became known as Notre Dame.
On Oct. 16, 2009, Notre Dame dedicated Arlotta Stadium to the sacred history of the sport by hosting a competition between the Haudenosaunee (hoe-dee-no-SHOW-nee) and the Fighting Irish. Today, there is a plaque on the outside of the stadium recognizing the legacy of that competition and the ongoing institutional commitment to embrace and uphold a spirit of inclusion by welcoming members of local Native American communities to be seen, heard and celebrated.
"I think it is very appropriate and altogether proper that we acknowledge that lacrosse itself was a gift given to us by Native Americans. The plaque is to recognize our ongoing appreciation and to acknowledge the continuous relationships that exist throughout the game," said Kevin Corrigan, the Baumer Family head men’s lacrosse coach.
Tara Kenjokety, member of the Ho-Chunk and Seneca nations, and undergraduate community engagement librarian at Hesburgh Libraries took part in the recognition events at the lacrosse games. “It was very important that the plaque that went up at the stadium get some attention for recognizing Indigenous people’s contributions. Beyond sports contributions, the Indigenous people in the area have a long history with the University that goes back to its founding. It is extremely impactful that the University validates the importance of those contributions and shows its support of the Indigenous people who make up the current Notre Dame community as students, alumni, staff and faculty. I think highlighting contributions that the original nations of the United States made to our society are essential steps that need to be taken,” said Kenjokety.
The women’s lacrosse team heads to Gainesville, Florida, on Friday, May 12, to face the Mercer Bears at 7 p.m. in the 2023 NCAA Tournament opening rounds.
The men’s lacrosse team is a No. 3 seed in the NCAA championship. The team will host Utah at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at Arlotta Stadium.
For more information about Native American culture, resources and initiatives at Notre Dame, visit nai.nd.edu.