BRANTFORD – The Woodland Cultural Centre hosted a film screening and fundraiser on July 4 for the Haudenosaunee Nationals Women’s Team, who are vying to participate in the upcoming FIL Women’s World Cup.
The team of 16 will be using their Haudenosaunee passports to travel to participate in the cup tournament from July 12 to 22 in the host country of England. The selling of Indian tacos, lemonade, raffle tickets, participation in traditional lacrosse teachings and entry donations to view the screening of Spirit Game is hoped to help get them there.
Woodland Cultural Centre Artistic Associate Gyeho Thomas said that their journey across the sea “is very important”.
“This is just something that we wanted to do at the Woodland Cultural Centre just to support them and their efforts of getting out into England,” said Thomas. “They’re travelling on their Haudenosaunee passports over to England, and that’s something that we’re really proud to support them in.”
The screening of Spirit Game was also backed by extra support, explained Thomas.
“The organizers in L.A. actually sent us a Blu-ray copy of the movie, so they’ve been really supportive and it’s really nice to see everyone coming together for these girls,” she said.
Wadatawi Jadyn Bomberry is one of the 16, and also one of the players that experienced not being able to travel to Scotland with the Haudenosaunee U19 Team in a previous year.
“It sucked a lot,” said Bomberry. “Just because everyone had that feeling of not being able to go, so it was that disappointment [that carried over to the rest of our season].”
But, for this year she said she is “excited”.
“It’s really exciting because, technically, this will be my first time going to a World Cup,” she said, as she currently plays for Syracuse University.
Veterans for the team include three-time World Cup Players Awehiyo Thomas, and Katie Smith.
Smith explained that being able to travel as a team, with each player using their Haudenosaunee passport is definitely a “big deal”.
“I’m even getting emotional talking about it,” said Smith. “It’s a huge honour to be able to play for our people, and for the government of England to actually work with us and allow us to travel on our own passports is a big stepping stone for sure.”
Smith recalled that it wasn’t just the U19 girls team that were unable to travel, but also the boys team as well.
“So it’s momentous I think,” she said. “It’s definitely an honour.”
With the help of the Woodland Cultural Centre, donations of supportive friends and family, the team is hoped to make a safe and easy journey to England in the coming weeks.