(COURTESY JAIDEN MITCHELL)
Sky Timmons is Irish and Mohawk. The lacrosse stick belongs to Cheyenne Lazore’s daughter Jemma, who is a goaltender from Akwesasne.
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After 60 long hours of hard work, an Akwesasne woman designed a ribbon skirt to honour Ireland’s national lacrosse team for withdrawing from the 2022 World Games to allow Haudenosaunee to take their spot.
Cheyenne Lazore, a historian in Aboriginal rights and a huge lacrosse fan, made the skirt in honour of the Irish team while tying in Haudenosaunee elements. She began the project in September and finished on November 7.
“It was nice for Ireland to recognize us as a sovereign nation because no other country recognized us that way,” she said. “Our people gave this medicine game to the world and for Team Ireland to see that and allow our men to play in Birmingham, it touched our hearts. I wanted to make this skirt to honour Team Ireland.”
Ireland dropped out from the games to allow the Iroquois Nationals to fill the eight-team roster on September 2. The games will take place from July 7-17, 2022, in Birmingham, Alabama.
The skirt, which is called I Dteannta a chéile – Together As One in Gaelic, features several panels made out of cotton, velveteen, flannel and quinoline.
The name was a slogan adopted by Ireland and the Haudenosaunee following the withdrawal.
One panel includes the names of Irish cities, one of a Celtic knot, and another of a celestial tree. Lazore said she hasn’t quite finished her masterpiece.
“I want to add more beadwork to the front panel and hopefully make a matching top,” she said. “Maybe if I get time, it shouldn’t take me too long. Probably like a couple of hours to make the top.”
Lazore’s 11-year-old daughter is a lacrosse goaltender who has played for over four years. Just like her mother, she also is a die-hard fan of the Creator’s game.
“We watch every single one of the home games of the Akwesasne Ride,” said Lazore. “Ever since she was little, she would always watch the games. She’s been playing goalie for boys box lacrosse and I think she’s really good. One day, she’ll be able to play for Team Haudenosaunee.”
Lazore has shown her daughter lacrosse as a teaching tool, to assist her with many areas of her life, not just sports. “I taught her all about the medicine game. It’s our game. It’s a men’s medicine game, but the women can play too,” said Lazore. “It meant a lot to me to teach her always to stay humble and give thanks.”
Sky Timmons, the woman who modelled the skirt, is rish and Mohawk. She was the perfect candidate when Lazore asked her to wear her design.
“She totally rocked it,” she said. “She’s my friend’s cousin and she’s always admired my style.”
“It felt right to say yes considering I knew exactly what this gesture meant to my people and to be able to be that person meant more than I can describe,” said Timmons.
“I felt beautiful in a way that had nothing to do with how I looked, but how I felt.”
With the skirt and memories of making it, Lazore will never forget Team Ireland’s kindness.
“I guess it was my way of thanking them and the Iroquois Nationals are where they should have been the whole time,” she said.
“It’s just a shame to sacrifice their spot, but it was really awesome they did.”