Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

Details: Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

Official Sites:

One Bowl Productions website





Release Date:

26 May 2017 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Buffalo, New York, USA

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Spirit Game: Pride Of A Nation Synopsis

Lacrosse originated with the Iroquois, which they call their “medicine game,” and is the lifeblood of their Nation. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team is not only among the world’s best,Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

but ambassadors for their Nation’s sovereignty and recognition. In 2015, the Iroquois hosted the World Championships on Native soil for the first time ever, in which history, politics and culture all collided on the playing field before the eyes of the world. Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation .Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

At times Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation feels like at least two documentary smashed into one, but its multiple narratives actually help to underscore the film’s larger point.Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation .Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation,Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation,Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation


The danger with pulling at such disparate narrative threads is that it can lead to an unfocused story. Spirit Game is guilty of hopping around from subject matter to subject matter, but in every aspect the goal is always the same: the desire to be recognized as a unique people with their own sport, their own culture, their own identity and their own Nation.

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

In that sense Spirit Game is a study in post-colonialism that’s engaging, educational and empathetic. It’s like if Franz Fanon’s seminal work on post-colonialism, The Wretched of the Earth, periodically took breaks from the laying bare the dehumanizing effects of colonization to discuss the author’s love of sports.

But Spirit Game is far from a philosophical tome and it’s not preachy or confrontational in its advocacy. Instead, the major takeaway from the film is that in every facet of daily life, from issues with the lacrosse team’s passports to the alleged security risk posed by a sacred headpiece, Native peoples are confronted by a society that delegitimizes their claim to history, culture and identity.

No matter which storyline the film switches to the struggle to be recognized as a sovereign people crops up, which serves to showcase just how pervasive the issue is and how any success, on or off the lacrosse field, represents at least some progress in the fight for Native Americans to assert their identity.

The fact that Spirit Game manages to pull such weighty issues out of a documentary ostensibly about an underdog lacrosse team is impressive and makes the movie something that should be sought out by anyone interested in lacrosse, Native issues or the intersection of sports and identity.


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