Rain Whited playing lacrosseRain Whited, a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, will share his love of lacrosse at a campus event Jan. 23.

Campus invited to experience lacrosse as medicine

If you spot a man jogging through Walkerville with a lacrosse stick in his hands, there’s a good chance it’s Rain Whited.

Whited, who has played lacrosse since he was a preschooler, will share his love of the sport with the campus community Monday, Jan. 23. The former Windsor Warlocks player will start the day with a guest lecture for the kinesiology course “Ethics in Sport and Physical Activity.” First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students from local high schools will also attend. Whited’s lecture will be followed by hands-on lacrosse workshops in the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse.

The event, “Lacrosse as Medicine,” will highlight the importance of lacrosse in Indigenous tradition and to Whited personally.

“The game of lacrosse is special. It’s not just a game. It’s the Haudenosaunee Medicine game,” said Whited, a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy League of Nations.

“Lacrosse touches on all directions of my life — mind, body, spirit, and emotion. It’s a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that brings families and communities together.”

Whited’s visit, which will include traditional Indigenous foods for sampling, is made possible by contributions from the Office of the Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations, the Department of Kinesiology, and a Nanadagikenim (Seek-to-Know) grant from the UWindsor Centre for Teaching and Learning. The Seek-to-Know grant helps integrate more Indigenous content into the faculty’s curriculum.

Krista Loughead, who teaches the class Whited will address, said it’s important to incorporate diverse perspectives on the benefits of sport and physical activity.

“Rain is coming to talk to our students and high school students about why lacrosse is more to him than a sport or competition,” Dr. Loughead said. “He will not be discussing the Medicine Teachings of Lacrosse, but rather how he views lacrosse as medicine for him as an Indigenous person and what that exactly means to him.”

Born and raised in Windsor, Whited has been playing lacrosse since he was four. He played competitively until he was 21, for the Windsor Warlocks, as an alternate on the Windsor Clippers, and later for the Wallaceburg Red Devils. While at 27 he’s too old to still play competitively in local leagues, he incorporates the sport in his daily life whenever he can, carrying a stick when he goes for a run.

“It’s part of me,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always done.”

He said the game carries cultural significance.

“Lacrosse was a gift from the Creator to entertain the Creator and our ancestors in the spirit world, nature, and our community that is watching,” he said. “It is not only providing medicine for us as players, but to those who have gathered to watch.”

Whited, an emergency response medic who hopes to become a professional firefighter, said he has delivered an online lecture in the faculty during the pandemic but has never had the opportunity to offer a lacrosse workshop on campus.

“It’s an honour to be called on to share my story of the sport and share tradition.”

The workshops will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 23. Traditional foods such as fry bread, Three Sisters Soup, and meat stew will be available for sampling. All UWindsor faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend. Register to attend before Friday, Jan. 20, here.

—Sarah Sacheli

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