Illustrations by Robert DesJarlait
Eleven-year-old Travis Skinaway learns about his American Indian culture and history as he practices the Creator’s game, lacrosse.
The game of lacrosse is a gift from the Creator, given to the American Indians in the long ago. But Travis Skinaway doesn’t know the full story of the game: he only knows that he struggles to catch the ball and tends to throw it over the other boys’ heads. Maybe he’s not built right to run the field. His teammates and coach seem to think he’s hopeless, anyway.
Travis is ready to hang up his gear, but then his grandfather appears in a dream, explaining to him that lacrosse is a spiritual quest, just like a prayer, a song, or a dance. Mom doesn’t believe Travis’s story, but Grandma knows: she says dreamtime is just as real as awake time.
Grandpa continues to visit Travis, sharing details about the different styles of play, the types of equipment, the various traditions among the tribes. Wearing his grandfather’s gear, Travis gains confidence as he practices with the team. When opportunity strikes at the big game, he carries the durable weight of tradition onto the field with him, celebrating skills handed down through generations.
Art Coulson (Cherokee) is an award-winning writer and editor. Co-owner of Redbird Media & Design, he likes to play and watch lacrosse in his spare time.
Robert DesJarlait (Anishinaabe, Red Lake), cofounder of Protect Our Manoomin, is an artist and activist who illustrated Meridel LeSueur’s Sparrow Hawk.
Available November 2013 from Minnesota Historical Society Press
$6.95 paper, 48 pages, 6 x 8 1/2, 20 b&w illustrations, glossary, appendix, bibliography, ISBN: 978-0-87351-909-0
$3.99 e-book, 978-0-87351-936-6