Lacrosse has been an infrequent guest at the Olympic Games. It was played at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics as a full medal sport then as a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932 and finally in 1948. Only three nations, Canada, the United States and Great Britain took part in the five editions of Olympic lacrosse.
With the possibility of the sport returning to the Olympic fold at Los Angeles 2028 it seems a good time to reflect upon the beginnings of the sport and its roots amongst the Native American communities of what is now the north east part of the United States and south east Canada.
The 1904 Olympic tournament was traditionally only competed between the Winnipeg Shamrocks and the hometown St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association but during my colleague Bill Mallon’s research into the St. Louis Games he discovered that a third team, from the Six Nations Reservation of Ontario, had competed and lost to the St. Louis team in what amounted to a semi-final.
The roster of the Six Nations team has been known for over 30 years but only in the form of the English translation of the tribal name of the players involved. Until today…
The traditional list of the team is as follows;
Almighty Voice, Black Eagle, Black Hawk, Flat Iron, Half Moon, Lightfoot, Man Afraid of the Soap, Night Hawk, Rain in Face, Red Jacket. Snake Eater, Spotted Tail.
Up until now it was impossible to link these names to those recorded in Canadian records but a finding by the Swedish athletics historian Tomas Magnusson has changed all that. We can now reveal that “Man Afraid of the Soap” was also known as Freeman Joseph Isaacs (1869-1937), the father of Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Bill Isaacs.
Furthermore, we have solid evidence that the rest of Canada knew those squad players through their registered English names as opposed to their Native American names.
Those names being
Joe Crawford. Philip Jackson, Eli Warner, Amos Obediah, Thomas Will. Berman L. Snow, L. Bumbary,J. B. Eaver ,Eli Martin, Sandy Turkey, Austin Bill, W. E. Martin, Jacob Jamieson, Eli Henry, Joe Clark, Frank Seneca. Charlie Johnon, Robert Lottridge
Hopefully we may continue to gather more information until all the roster is revealed.
Freeman Joseph Isaacs