Spirit game:
pride of a nation


Documentary Feature Film 2017 Theatrical Release | Watch Trailer

“Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation isn’t a standard sports documentary film. Its focus is on spiritual matters as well as the physical because it deals with a game its adherents believe s just about as old as time. That would be lacrosse, a sport the Iroquois, who originated it, call “the creator’s game”, something they believe was played between animals, the winged creatures versus those on land. A game that existed before man.”   – Los Angeles Times  

Lacrosse originated with the Haudenosaunee, a confederation of Nations in northeast North America the French called the Iroquois. Lacrosse came from the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee), and is the lifeblood of their people and their Nation. The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team is not only comprised of the best lacrosse players in the world, but of ambassadors for their Nation’s sovereignty—essentially their right to exist, to travel on their own passports, to their own governing principles. Players wear their team colors, carry their Nation’s flag and sing their Nation’s anthem. The Iroquois Nationals is a team that represents a united confederacy of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Seneca, Oneida, and Cayuga Nations.

In 2015, for the first time in history, the Iroquois host the World Championships on Native soil. History, politics, and culture all collide on the playing field.

Following in the footsteps of Faithkeeper Chief Oren Lyons, Spirit Game follows the Iroquois battle to win a world lacrosse championship. However, their journey transcends the space of the field and is about more than a game. The film explores a perennial battle for the recognition of Iroquois sovereignty. 

In 1493 a Vatican mandate carried by Columbus called the Doctrine of Discovery changed history forever. Spirit Game superimposes this subject matter onto a feature-length sports documentary. 

The film features acclaimed activists and athletes alike. The Thompson brothers are young athletes, notably ranked #1 internationally on the lacrosse field. The Thompsons are an appealing melange of good humor, wisdom and tight family bonds. They see each other as the eagle, bear, deer, and wolf, reflecting their unique personalities as both lacrosse players and leaders in the Iroquois community. This is a teaching rooted in their creation story of lacrosse which is a throughline of the film.

In 2010 England hosted the World Lacrosse Field Championship Games. The United Kingdom refused to accept Haudenosaunee passports, denying the Iroquois Nationals their chance to compete. Gifted players like Taylor Smoke, Brett Bucktooth Junior, Jeff Shattler, Randy Staats, Johnny Powless, and Josh Becker provide a spiritual sense of playing lacrosse with a “good mind.” They belong to a pool of only 400 Iroquois players, whereas team Canada and USA draw from over 600,000. 

“Lacrosse is our gift to the world ... we are happy to share... our medicine game. On behalf of the leadership and people of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy we welcome the world to our territory, in the spirit of healing, in the name of friendship, and with the goal of world peace.”  —Oren Lyons

Let the games begin.

A powerful story of identity, sovereignty and spirituality.
— Sports Illustrated

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