Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Denis Breman




lacross, ethnicity, class, sport, popularity


This thesis examines how Lacrosse’s history and popularity has demonstrated a direct correlation with the ethnicity of the people who compose the majority constituency of the game. While Lacrosse began as a sport played almost exclusively by Native Americans, it now is mostly associated with middle to upper class white Americans. Furthermore, Lacrosse was not played by many people until the past twenty years when participates have consisted of mostly white Americans. This study relies on a multitude of sources ranging from scholarly books, to an interview with a National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee, to articles located on in reputable scholarly journals. In forming my argument I have broken my project into five distinct chapters. First, I provide a detailed historiography of the sources that have been written on the sport of Lacrosse, on Native American involvement in the U.S. and on the current popularity of the sport. In the second chapter I include a comprehensive history of the sport of Lacrosse, from the time of its first documentation to the present day. The third chapter offers a brief overview of the injustice that Native Americans have faced in the United States, which was intended to destroy Indian culture, including their sports and games. I then focus on the link between prejudice attitudes and the modern popularity of Lacrosse. Finally a concluding chapter reviews the major points of the study and offers ideas for further exploration on the topic. Through this work historians can clearly see that a significant reason for Lacrosse’s stunted growth and its sudden expansion can be directly correlated to the racial groups who play the game; the game’s past malaise and its present resurgence share similar racial foundations.