From Log to Lacrosse Stick: A Factory Tour
Witness the traditional art of wooden lacrosse stick making
Learn how traditional wooden lacrosse sticks are made by the people who invented the game. From selecting the wood to handling the magnificent end product, this tour features hands-on demonstrations of six stages of the lengthy manufacturing process. In Akwesasne, lacrosse is more than a game. It is considered a gift from the Creator and our people have played it since time immemorial.
- Handle wooden lacrosse sticks in various stages of completion
- Learn how hickory trees are selected, harvested and split
- See a live demonstration of the log splitting
- Watch as sticks are steamed, bent, carved and finished
- Learn about the game from members of Akwesasne’s storied lacrosse community
Set on a behind-the-scenes tour of traditional wooden lacrosse stick making and its Indigenous origins with Akwesasne Mohawk makers Lewis Mitchell of Lewis Mitchell Lacrosse, and Evan Cree, owner of Traditional Lacrosse.
Guests are introduced to their host upon arrival at the factory. The tour kicks off with a discussion about the cultural origins of lacrosse, the proud history of stick making in Akwesasne, and the game’s significance to our community.
Next, guests step outside to learn how specific trees are selected from local forests to be crafted into prized wood sticks. Guests will then witness how logs are split into individual splints used for stick making.
For the next stage of the tour, guests join their host inside the factory and see how the split piece is transformed into its new life as a wooden lacrosse stick. Your host will demonstrate how the splint is sawed and then steamed to make the wood more pliable. Guests will then see the steamed log bent around a jig custom designed specifically for the process, and even try their hand at bending a stick.
Guests will then watch as the host carves the stick with a drawknife on an old-fashioned drawhorse. After the carving process, the guests will observe the sanding, and learn about the branding and sealing process that make sticks nearly ready for play. The host then demonstrates how sticks are laced with leather to form a pocket.
Hosts share how sticks have evolved through lacrosse’s long history, and show various sticks used in today’s game. Be sure to questions. Our hosts are lifelong players with a wealth of knowledge to share!
Meet Your Hosts
Lewis “Louie” Mitchell was born and raised in Akwesasne and lives there with his family, not far from his workshop along the river in Tsi Sniahne. A lifelong player of field and box lacrosse, Louie won a number of Canadian national championships with Akwesasne teams and competed internationally as a member of the Iroquois (now Haudenosaunee) Nationals from 1980-1992. For his many contributions to the game as a player, Louie was inducted into the Akwesasne Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2019. He began making sticks in 1975 while working at Mohawk Lacrosse Manufacturing. After his retirement from a 23-year career in law enforcement, he launched Lewis Mitchell Lacrosse in 2016 and continues to supply former, current, and future players with handcrafted sticks.
Evan Cree is the owner of Traditional Lacrosse, a wooden lacrosse stick and trophy company based in the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. He is a traditional stick maker and lacrosse enthusiast. Evan has played lacrosse his whole life and continues to be active in the “Old Sticks” league in his hometown. Lacrosse is in his blood. Evan’s great-grandfather owned and operated the legendary Roundpoint Lacrosse Company on Cornwall Island, Ontario. At one time, it supplied most of all the wooden lacrosse sticks in the world. Evan learned how to make traditional Mohawk lacrosse sticks from an elder, and it grew into his thriving business today.
- 1.5 hours
What To Bring
- Clothes suitable for the tour’s outdoor portion (15 minutes)
- A good mind!
- Guided tour by stick maker host
- Materials needed for the tour
What's Not Included
- Transportation to the workshop location
- Lacrosse souvenirs/sticks (available for purchase)
- USD $39.00 per guest
- Minimum group size = 2 guests
- Maximum group size = 12 guests
Reserve Your Tour
Virtual Tour Option
You can now enjoy Evan Cree’s “Traditional Lacrosse Stick Making” tour virtually from the comfort of your own home. Simply click on the link to go to Airbnb’s Online Experiences and find out more about his virtual tour today!