DULUTH, Ga. – The 2017 NLL World Champion Georgia Swarm will honor the history of lacrosse during its third annual Native American Heritage Night presented by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
The Swarm will host the New England Black Wolves at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, March 24. Faceoff is set for 7:05pm. The first 2,000 fans will receive a Miles Thompson bobblehead courtesy of the Tribe.
For the only time this season, Georgia will don special edition uniforms which honor the centuries-old sport of Cherokee stickball.
EBCI tribal members can receive free tickets by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NAHN18
Also known as “the little brother of war,” stickball is Cherokee Nation’s cultural sport. Participants play with two sticks each, a ball and wear only shorts. This physical game was used by tribes to settle disputes without going to war. Stickball is one of the oldest sports in North America and has evolved into modern day lacrosse. The sport is still played today on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina, highlighted by an annual stickball tournament every summer.
“The Swarm has an amazing relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee nation,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “We wanted to honor them and our relationship with them on Native American Heritage night by having a uniform that represented the stickball game of lacrosse that they play there.”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed said, “Our relationship with the Georgia Swarm has been important for our community because our tradition of stickball has brought our people together. These special jerseys bring historical Cherokee images into the 21st century as an inspiration for our youth. These jerseys will inspire up and coming lacrosse and stickball players.”
The front of the Swarm’s Cherokee-themed jersey features an original circular logo with the letters for “Cherokee,” ᏣᎳᎩ (pronounced Tsa-la-gi). Above it is two traditional wooden sticks and a ball to represent stickball.
The shorts are based off of traditional muslin shorts worn by stickball players in the late 19th century. During that time, players’ shorts would have either red or blue stars, crosses and circles sewn into the muslin to indicate the talent level of the individual player. Customarily, the best Cherokee stickball players wore stars, while others wore crosses and circles to represent their skill level.
The Swarm elected to use stars on every players’ shorts to represent the wealth of talent on its roster, which recently won the 2017 NLL Champion’s Cup.
The jerseys feature front and back purple patches with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on them. The uniforms are yellow with blue highlights, the Swarm’s traditional home uniform color scheme.
The night will kick off with a pregame event at 4:30pm to educate Swarm fans on Native American culture. The pregame event will feature the history of stickball, speakers from the Warriors of AniKituhwa, Miss Cherokee Faith Long, and Native American players. Native American craft demonstrators and vendors will be situated all along the concourse of Infinite Energy Arena as well.
The Swarm is currently home to seven Native American athletes: Randy Staats (Six Nations, Mohawk Turtle Clan), Brayden Hill (Six Nations, Mohawk Turtle Clan), Warren Hill (Six Nations Mohawk), Zed Williams (Seneca tribe) and the Thompson Brothers Jerome, Lyle, and Miles (Onondaga Nation).
“It’s very important to the Swarm organization to honor and respect the roots of our great game we all love and our Native American athletes,” Swarm Co-Owner and President Andy Arlotta said. “I encourage all fans to show their support for a memorable and educational experience which will perfectly compliment a heated East Division showdown.”
Fans will have the opportunity to bid on their favorite players’ game-worn and autographed jerseys during the game on Native American Heritage Night and online.
All player uniforms will be available for auction. The game-worn, autographed jerseys will be available for auction online at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Auction.
Fans can participate in a silent auction during the Swarm’s game against Buffalo for a chance to win game-worn, autographed jerseys worn by the Swarm’s Native American players. Bidding will take place in the main concourse of Infinite Energy Arena.
Select proceeds from the auction will be donated to the EBCI youth lacrosse initiative.
– Georgia Swarm