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Sharing Our Stories: January 24, 2024

Story told by: June Mayo
Edited by: Emma McLaughlin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Translated by: Sahawisó:ko’ Arquette

Making lacrosse sticks

I love lacrosse. Even now, today.

My husband Jimmy used to make lacrosse sticks. It was a lot of work.

There was a show at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal a while ago. It was an exhibition on things Mohawks made, like lacrosse sticks or basket weaving.

The men who came to see the show were interested in how Jimmy made those sticks.

 

Team photo of the Caughnawaga Indians Lacrosse Club in 1867 Team manager Jean Baptiste Rice stands third from left in the back row PHOTO Courtesy of Kanienkeháka Onkwawénna Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center

 

He told them that he went into the bush to cut down the right tree – hickory. Hickory has one of the hardest woods.

He then would put the stick in water to make it pliable and then used his knee to pull it to form a cane.

Then he let that dry, he stripped down bark and let it dry again.

I forget how long it took him to make one stick but it was a lot of work.

I used to tell him not to tell people everything because the next thing you know, they’ll take your idea away and they have the machines that do it even faster.

 

Junes late husband Jimmy Flo McComber right poses next to his friend Belsoj Tarbell left after a lacrosse game PHOTO Courtesy of Victoria Queenie McComber

 

He used to take the sticks all the way to BC. He used to go every year and would stay three months. He would sell fish there too – $3000 he would make.

Some people found out how much he makes and how he didn’t pay tax on it, because there’s no tax on the reserve.

They said, “You can’t sell your sticks here anymore.”

And so he said, “Oh yeah? Who’s gonna stop me? Walk away, these sticks hurt when you get hit.”

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