By McGill Reporter Staff
It will be a busy and interesting year ahead for those involved in Indigenous initiatives and events. Two major developments are on the horizon, in addition to McGill’s regular activities that focus on Indigenous experiences and developing connections with Indigenous communities.
In September, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi will launch his Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education.
And about a year from now, McGill will host the 150th Anniversary of Lacrosse celebration, the Canadian Lacrosse Foundation announced on June 15. Events are scheduled to take place June 16-18, 2017 on the downtown campus. First Nations have played lacrosse for centuries, but Montreal and McGill have had many significant influences on the sport, the CLF said.
As for the Task Force, “a group of individuals from the McGill and wider communities have been working over the past months on how to define the Task Force’s terms of reference in broad, inclusive and meaningful ways,” Manfredi said. “The terms of reference will call upon the Task Force to consider initiatives that will deepen the University’s commitment to integrating Indigenous perspectives and experiences in all facets of McGill’s academic mission. They will further direct the Task Force to explore and make concrete recommendations with respect to the role that McGill can and should play in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.”
Earlier this year, Manfredi had told both Senate and the Board of Governors that McGill will maintain a multi-year commitment to review the University’s capacity for teaching and research on Indigenous affairs and improving the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty and students. “If McGill is going to make a difference in this area, we’ll have to put resources behind it,” Manfredi told both the Board and Senate.
The formal launch of the Task Force will occur the week of Sept.19, which is also Indigenous Awareness Week at McGill.
The festivities in celebration of the 150th anniversary of lacrosse will feature a variety of educational and cultural activities for participants of all ages and will serve as a once-in-a-lifetime event to honour and celebrate the history and cultural significance of Canada’s national summer sport, the CLF said in its announcement.
“The Canadian Lacrosse Foundation is very proud to take a leadership role in this celebration,” said Foundation Chair Jim Burke in a media release. “We are excited to put together an event that will help us showcase the role that lacrosse has played in the development of our country over the past 150 years.”
Dr. William George Beers, a Montrealer who is referred to in the lacrosse community as the “Father of Modern Lacrosse,” is credited with developing the first formal set of rules for the game, a few years before the National Lacrosse Association was founded in 1867, at which time the rules were adopted.
McGillians have been playing lacrosse since at least 1870. The men’s varsity lacrosse team folded during World War I, and was relaunched in 2001 and has experienced tremendous success ever since, capturing the Baggataway Cup national championship in 2012 and 2015.
It is “important not just to celebrate the 150th anniversary but also to reflect upon and to learn about [the way lacrosse has changed] over hundreds of years as The Creator’s Game, beginning with the Iroquois people who have lived in the Montreal area for thousands of years,” McGill’s men’s lacrosse team coach Tim Murdoch said in the CLF release.
The celebrations will also be supported by McGill’s First Peoples’ House. The 150th celebration will have several components, including the presentation of re-created games that will showcase the transition of lacrosse from Traditional Game to Victorian Sport. These re-enactments, featuring authentic traditional sticks and wardrobe from that period, will help illustrate the evolution of the sport, the formalization of rules, and the various First Nations rituals that often occurred before and after games, the CLF said.
A series of lectures and presentations on a variety of lacrosse topics, featuring numerous authors and academics, will also be part of the event. This will be supplemented by an interactive exhibit of lacrosse artifacts and photos from the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Their travelling exhibition will highlight the history of the sport and the individuals that have helped shape the game.
The Québec Lacrosse Federation, Kahnawake Lacrosse, and Westmount Lynx Lacrosse organizations will run a variety of tournaments to help expose attendees to the different forms of the sport, including both field and box lacrosse.