By Darryl G. Smart
Lacrosse is something that has been part of Brennor Jacobs and Brendan Bomberry’s lives ever since they were born. It’s their passion. It’s an extension of their way of life. And those are a couple of the reasons why they wanted to share Akhwatsirehkó:wa – My Big Family — Our Game, Our Experience, Our Way, with the rest of the world.
The cousins, from Six Nations of the Grand River, co-wrote and launched the book to the public on Monday.
“To me, this project is special because we wanted to bring to light just how incredible the lacrosse community is. Not only within our own Haudenosaunee communities, but the growing lacrosse community all around the globe,” said Jacobs, who has donned his goalie gear for a number of junior and senior teams on Six Nations, Wallaceburg, and all over the world. “It also means a great deal to me that I was able to complete it with my cousin. To be able to share our culture through our writing has been very rewarding.”
Bomberry, who graduated from the University of Syracuse, where he played lacrosse, also starred for the Six Nations Arrows junior A team before graduating to the Six Nations Chiefs, of Major Series Lacrosse, as well as professionally for the National Lacrosse League’s Georgia Swarm and the Chesapeake Bayhawks, of Major League Lacrosse.
“This has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life,” Bomberry said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of growing this amazing game that I love so much. To be able to do that while helping boost Indigenous literacy is an amazing feeling.”
The project was published by Turtle’s Back Publishing, a division of the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition. The aim of the ONLC is to publish Indigenous works that strengthen and amplify Indigenous knowledge.
The book explores how the game of lacrosse has spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually aided players from all around the world, through their differing experiences within the sport. Jacobs and Bomberry interviewed coaches, referees, stick makers, fans, builders of the game, as well as some of the sport’s stars. Among the players that share their stories in the 450 book are Cody jamieson, Randy Staats, Lyle Thompson, Darris Kilgour, Allie Jimerson, Oliver Hill, Jacelyn Lazore, Warren Hill, Brandon Montour, John Tavares, John Grant Sr., Connor Wilson, Joakim Miller, Reilly Smith, Brendan Smith, Rory Smith, Tim Wunderlich, Frank Lawrence, Keith Nyberg and Bobby Allan.
“It’s been an amazing and very rewarding process,” Jacobs said. “To be able to bring to light, and share all these incredible stories has been truly captivating. To hear just how far our sport has gone and how its strength has touched so many people around the world is very uplifting as a Haudenosaunee person and I really hope me and bombs have written something that captures that love and passion we both share for this game.”
Both Jacobs and Bomberry said the project has taken them about a year and half. But it’s something that has been on both of their minds for a while.
“I was approached in 2018, just after I had finished my degree at Syracuse,” Bomberry said. “I eventually took a meeting with Turtles Back Publishing and ONLC and I was hooked from there. It’s something we’re both very proud of.”
You can purchase Akhwatsirehkó:wa – My Big Family — Our Game, Our Experience, Our Way, by visiting the ONLC website at https://onlc.ca/product/6174/.