Iroquois Spirit Game

Written by Chezney Martin with notes from Jayson Koblun

The sports community and rest of the Turtle Island is eagerly awaiting the release of the documentary film Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation, a film centered around the creation of lacrosse.

The film features the likes of the Thompson brothers, Oren Lyons, Bill Belichik and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and circles around the creation of lacrosse and the first ever hosting of the World Indoor Lacrosse Tournament in Onondaga — Haudenosaunee soil — in 2015.

As pictured above, the Thompson brothers were able to showcase their lacrosse prowess alongside other honourable Haudenosaunee mentions such as Roger Vyse and Sid Smith as major components to the Iroquois Nationals team. Photo by Chezney Martin.

The approaching release date had both Jeremy and Jerome Thompson reflecting on the impacts that they hope the film will make on audiences in an interview with Two Row Times.

“I want, and hope, that those who watch the documentary will understand that we are still here,” said Jeremy. “I want the world, and Canada and the United States to know who we are and what we accomplished by creating the game of lacrosse.”

His brother seconded his thoughts by focusing on the fact that the documentary is also a teaching tool.

“I’d like people who see it to learn something new about the game and appreciate that we are a sovereign nation,” said Jerome.

The duo played alongside their brothers Lyle and Miles in the Iroquois Nationals team back in 2015, and are prominent figures in the film that encompasses the creation of lacrosse as well as the sports importance to the Haudenosaunee.

Jerome also pointed out that the film includes moments from the 2014 Denver games, which were important and impactful to him and his family.

“[That] really meant a lot to me because it was the first time I played with my brothers on the global level,” he said. “It really means a lot to me and I know it meant a lot to the rest of my family too.”

But behind the scenes, Jeremy recognized that it was the film crew and their focus and determination to make the documentary authentic that was memorable for him.

“I really appreciated how the whole production team cared about what they were working on,” he said. “It wasn’t just another job, or another project. The whole team really made sure that things were as spot-on, or as close to being spot-on as it could be. It was a great experience being a part of such teamwork.”

The duo agreed that what they hoped for was that the film would “accurately and effecttively” portray Haudenosaunee sovereignty, and that hope was reached.

“It was a great experience and I’m very happy with what I’ve seen of the documentary,” said Jeremy.

“They did a great job and it was an experience I’ll remember forever,” said Jerome.

Although the film is set to premiere in Hollywood on May 26 — a special showing of the film is set for Saturday, June 3 in Syracuse N.Y., at the Palace Theatre. This special showing is free and open for Haudenosaunee people of all Nations to attend on a first-come and first-serve basis.

“This story is so important it clearly has to have a Hollywood Premiere,” said Executive Producer Gayle Anne Kelley. “But the Syracuse Premiere, in the Onondaga Nation’s traditional territory, is the most significant. This is their story.”

If you can’t make it out to the premiere in Onondaga territory, don’t fret, the movie will be available on Amazon and and iTunes on June 20.

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