Student Life

P.E. Classes Learn Canada's National Summer Sport

Over the two weeks leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, Grade 8-10 P.E. students at Shawnigan had the unique opportunity to learn about the sport of lacrosse from an accomplished ambassador of the game.
Naomi Walser, a member of the Beausoleil Ojibwe First Nation band in Ontario, who has called Vancouver Island home for many years, spent the week with Shawnigan’s P.E. classes, sharing with them Canada’s national summer sport, and teaching them a bit about the origins of the game. Walser travels across BC to spread the word about lacrosse, but this was her first time working with P.E. classes at Shawnigan.
The modern sport of lacrosse is based on games played by Indigenous communities in North America, beginning hundreds of years ago. Often referred to as “the Creator’s Game,” it was well established before the arrival of Europeans in North America. World Lacrosse is the only international sport organization to recognize First Nations bands as sovereign nations, and the Haudenosaunee Nationals (formerly known as the Iroquois Nationals) are among the strongest national teams in the world.
A former national team player for both Canada and Haudenosaunee, Walser has also coached internationally, most recently with Haudenosaunee at the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship in Maryland and The World Games in Alabama. She also coached Team BC to gold in box lacrosse at the Canada Summer Games.
Students were open and receptive to what Ms. Walser brought to their P.E. classes, and some didn’t want their time in lacrosse to end.
“The students were so fortunate to have Naomi here teaching them the skills of lacrosse for the last two weeks,” P.E. teacher and hockey coach Ms. Carly Haggard said. “Not only how the game is played, but also the Indigenous history of the sport. The kids all had a great experience and a few even commented to me, ‘Can we start a lacrosse team at Shawnigan?’”
A lacrosse team at the School may not be in the works yet, but Ms. Walser’s time at Shawnigan wrapped up with a scrimmage in the Quad to help mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.