Settlers playing Indian: Robert Kossuth, David McMurray, ‘Reclaiming Canada Through Its ‘Ancient’ Sport: Lacrosse and the Native Sons of Canada in Late 1920s Alberta’, The International Journal of the History of Sport, 2015
Abstract: Lacrosse has long been considered Canada’s national sport and, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, became tied to the nationalist ambitions that sought to promote a national identity through the ‘creation’ of a uniquely Canadian game. Popular in the decades prior to the turn of the twentieth century, lacrosse in Alberta began to decline after the First World War, becoming a marginal sport played only in the province’s larger cities. A brief and unexpected revival of lacrosse occurred in two communities, Edmonton and Lethbridge, in the 1920s championed by a nativist organization, the Native Sons of Canada (NSC). For this group lacrosse represented a natural means to promote their ‘Canada First’ ideology to young male Albertans. In Edmonton, the Native Sons sponsored a senior men’s lacrosse team that garnered some local and regional attention, while attempts by the Lethbridge assembly to promote youth lacrosse in 1927 were largely unsuccessful. Despite the continuing affinity between Canadian nationalism and lacrosse, the NSC were ineffective in their efforts to revive interest in the sport. The ‘national’ game did not provide nativists in Alberta the platform they sought to promote their nationalist agenda.
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