Amid the sights and sounds of a Native American Heritage game day celebration sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Georgia Swarm (5-9) ended their losing streak and clinched an important victory against the play-off bound Colorado Mammoth (10-4).
The win marks the first victory of the Swarm over Western division opponents and the first loss of the Colorado Mammoth to an Eastern division team. With only four regular season games left, this much needed win allows the Swarm to keep striving for the final playoff slot in the Eastern division.
In terms of the Native celebration, pre-game presenters and performances by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians included the American Legion Steve Youngdeer Post 143 and Colorguard, The Cherokee Royalty sang the Cherokee and American National Anthems, and a traditional war dance was demonstrated by the Warriors of AniKituhwa.
The Swarm Native players were all honored with a gift from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the face-off ball was presented by Rich Sneed, Vice-Chief Of Eastern Band Cherokee.
During halftime, youth stickball teams lined the field to listen to the creation story of Anetsodi, the Cherokee word for stickball, recited by Kathi Littlejohn. Then co-owner and President of the Georgia Swarm, Andy Arlotta presented a special Cherokee jersey number 16 to vice-chief Sneed, and was in turn gifted a pair of Cherokee traditional game sticks.
Randy Staats (Mohawk) was awarded first star for earning seven points during the game. The game’s second Star was awarded to Johnny Powless (Mohawk) who closed the quarter with an amazing penalty shot that kept the team energized heading into the third quarter.
Powless commented to ICTMN, “I was pretty nervous, I was happy the shot went in, lol.” The Thompson brothers (Onondaga Nation) left their mark as well with Lyle scoring three goals and Miles scoring twice.
The Swarm play on Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, GA and were proud to host Native American Heritage Day.
Swarm Co-Owner and President Andy Arlotta said, “Lacrosse is a Native American sport and it’s important to recognize where the sport of lacrosse originated from as the Creator’s Game holds deep meaning to Native people. We’re excited to welcome fans from all across the country on Sunday afternoon and honor the many tribal groups that will be in attendance.”
Powless (Six Nations, Mohawk Turtle Clan) expressed his gratitude for the Native fans in attendance. He told ICTMN that, “Being a Native, it was awesome to have Native fans travel that far to support the Georgia Swarm. I was thankful for the gifts we received as well! Fan support always plays a big role and with it being Native heritage night made it that much better of a win.”
The Swarm secured another amazing home turf victory 16-9, this time against the New England Black Wolves on Friday and are headed into a tiebreaker away game with the Rochester Knighthawks this Saturday at 7:30 pm to determine the final play-off slot in the Eastern division.
The Swarms final regular season home game will be against the Vancouver Stealth April 30th 7:05 pm.
You can check out an extended photo gallery of the game and events of the day here:
To buy tickets visit http://www.georgiaswarm.com/tickets .