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The Akwesasne Mohawks have one of the Northeast's better teams that has already gone to various tournaments.
When native communities had disputes, they would sometimes settle it with a game of stickball instead of going to war.
Native American Festival continues at Saratoga Spa State Park today
"These two little animals won the day," Bruchac said. "It shows, like stickball, that no matter how big or small you are, you can be part of the game."
He was one of the participants who showed how stickball is played. This is the first time it's been part of the annual festival, the goal of which is to promote the history, cultural traditions and active presence of Northeast native peoples.
today at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Stickball is so physical that it's been called "The Little Brother of War."
"Supposedly the sun enjoys watching people play," he said. "You're staying connected with nature by making peace and staying peaceful."
Two of the smallest animals, a bat and a flying squirrel, didn't know which team to side with. The bat could fly, but it also had fur like other animals. The squirrel could fly and walk.
Festival co founder Joseph Bruchac said stickball dates back thousands of years, and has the same popularity among Southeast native people that lacrosse has in the North.
"It's to scare the enemy," an older tribe member said, smiling. "You yell and scream when you run at them."
"It's harder than lacrosse," said 14 year old Tehanerahtatenies ("Change the Color of the Leaves"). "People think it's easier, but it's real hard. You're trying to hit the pole while you're running and you can get tackled."
Before playing on Saturday, each athlete had their face painted, a traditional part of the game.
get people to start playing," said Kiohontathe, of the Akwesasne Mohawk tribe's Bear Clan in northern New York. "There's a lot of tackling."
However, Bruchac said it has a strong spiritual component, by promoting peace among peoples and harmony with nature.
"It's just been introduced in the Northeast really," he said.
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