Tribal Communities Celebrate Their Ancestral Sport

By KBJR News 1

July 27, 2011 Updated Jul 29, 2011 at 2:13 PM CDT

Cloquet, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Members of the Minnesota Swarm, the state's only professional lacrosse team, were the guests of honor this week at the second annual Lax-4-Life lacrosse camp.

They said it's an honor to be able to work with the kids of the Northland.

"Working with these kids is even more rewarding for us because these kids really appreciate every word that comes out of our mouth," said Kevin Dunnigan, the Swarm's director of lacrosse operations. "These kids really soak in every experience they get, and it's an awesome experience for us as instructors."

"Of all the things I do, I've coached from youth to the professional level, this is one of the most rewarding things," said Aime Caines, a Swarm assistant coach. "To be able to give back, lacrosse has given me so much, to give back like this is special."

More than 50 kids from seven tribal communities across the Northland took part in this week's camp.

The Swarm coaches said, for most of them, lacrosse just comes natural.

"It's in their blood, and we see that," Dunnigan said. "These kids pick it up quick. We put a stick in their hands and they're catching and throwing. It's pretty amazing, actually, right off the bat. It's almost natural for them."

"Every one of these kids born in the tribal communities, it's their birthright to have a stick given to them," Caines said. "When they pass on into the afterlife, they're going to leave with that stick."

The sport of lacrosse has been gaining a fan base in recent years. Dunnigan said it's the Swarm's goal to keep improving the sport's popularity amongst kids.

"What we're trying to do is build a base or a foundation in a lacrosse community, and also reach out to these communities that might need some help," Dunnigan said. "They don't know where to start, so we're lucky to have that opportunity to go out and work with these new communities."

Posted by Zach Schneider