There is a new lacrosse team in the First Nations Jr. B Lacrosse League (FNJBLL) in Akwesasne: the Mohawk Medicine Men. Team manager and head coach Kariwate Mitchell announced the new team name earlier this week and also unveiled a Native-designed Mohawk Medicine Men Iroquois logo by Akwesasne artist John Thomas.
“I have always respected and appreciated his work, his paintings are not only a display of his talent but they also show his knowledge of our culture,” Mitchell told the Standard-Freeholder news site.
Of the logo, he said,“He’s a serious individual, he means business and he shows power and strength,” said Mitchell. “He is wearing a Kastowa [headdress] decorated with a hawk tail spread open at the front and large deer antlers.”
The FNJBLL was formed in 2014, and Mitchell has worked to create a team in Akwesasne since that time. He has also told the Standard-Freeholder that getting talented players onto the team won’t be a problem and can pull from both the U.S. and Canadian territories.
“There are so many players in this area,” he said. “Kids in Akwesasne who didn’t make the Indians, and players coming up — they’ll have a decision of where they want to play. I’ll target Cornwall, Akwesasne and the Massena, Canton, Potsdam area.”
The Mohawk Medicine Men have also announced they will be playing at the Massena Arena, in New York to stave problems of visiting teams and any potential border crossing delays as the Akwesasne community sits on the borders of the U.S. and Canada.
The Mohawk Medicine Men open their season at the Onondaga Nation Territory (Syracuse) and will play their home opener on May 27 against the last year’s league champions, the Seneca War Chiefs.
Mitchell announced tryout camps will potentially start in April and interested players must be classified as free agent status or need written permission from their team to participate.
The team’s colors will be grey, black and orange. The junior B team’s senior affiliate is the Snake Island Muskies.
According to the FNJBLL website, The Iroquois Nations Junior B Lacrosse League has joined forces with the Montreal Junior Lacrosse League to create the First Nations Junior B Lacrosse League.
The other teams in the league are the Onondaga Jr. Redhawks, Rochester J-Hawks, Seneca WarChiefs and Tonawanda Jr. Braves of the First Nations Lacrosse Association as well as Kanehsatake Jr. Warriors, Montreal Shamrocks and Vermont Voyageurs.
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