As one of North America’s first sports, lacrosse was one of the most widely played games in the U.S. before European settlement. The Native game was an athletic competition of great skill, pride, and spiritual significance. Sometimes tribes played lacrosse—or stick ball—to celebrate important milestones, as a healing ritual, or to honor loved ones who passed away.

Dakota Moons

Moon cycles, or the period of time from one full moon to the next, were the basis for the Dakota calendar. These moon cycles provided the Dakota people with a guide to track time for seasonal events, such as peak harvest and hunting times. With guidance from the moons, Dakota people moved seasonally to hunt, harvest, and plant.