Louis Delisle + Video


By Pierre Filion

Look not here for scientific objectivity look rather for the opportunity to discover a great man who has graced the game of lacrosse for the last sixty years with passion, efficiency and mostly with humility.

Make no mistake; Louis Delisle is my friend.

Tewenhni’tatshon (Two moon cycles at a time) was born on March 21st 1951 and was presented to the ‘’non-native world’’ as Louis Delisle. He attended a roman catholic elementary school in Caughnawaga (now known as Kahnawakwe) and was later intellectually carved by the Jesuits; later he graduated from McGill University with a teaching diploma and has been active in education since 1975 as a teacher, coach and school principal at Kahnawake’s Survival School where he now teaches Kanienkeha (what we call Mohawk).

He discovered the game of lacrosse as a child and started playing organized lacrosse at age 14 and quickly became an outstanding player in every age category where he starred always reconciling passion, dedication and respect for the game, its participants and its tradition.

He coached with intelligence, discipline and efficiency; his teams were always winners or close contenders because he had a special understanding of the game and of his players, a keen sense of evaluation of his opponents and, always, sharp theories on how ‘’we will win in the end’’…

He served the game as a volunteer and administrator ensuring that the Kahnawake teams, in every age category, had the human, financial and organizational resources to compete and honor the game each and every year. The question in Kahnawake, and in the lacrosse circles was not ‘’What has Louis Delisle done for the game’’; it was rather ‘’What has Louis not done for the game’’. He was and still is, everywhere and always, the heart and soul of the game.

Louis and I go back over fifty years; we have just about the same backgrounds; catholic elementary schools, Jesuit secondary education; we are both teachers and passionate about the game. He was a star player; I tried to tend nets; he was an outstanding coach; I stood behind benches; we both loved to teach the game and share knowledge; we both cared about the game in different areas and domains but we both understood that we owed the game more than it owed us.

Make no mistake; Tewenhni’tatson, somehow, is my brother.

My THINK LACROSSE colleague Rad Joseph and I recently had the privilege of conducting a ZOOM interview with Louis Delisle and the content can be seen ob www.thinklacrosse.ca in the video section.

Here are the questions we asked him:

  • Anthropologists and sociologists say that it takes a whole village to bring a boy to manhood; how was your village in this process?
  • When you were a 10-12 yearold boy how did you react towards the clear white supremacy within your history books when they described Aboriginals as ‘’sauvages’’, cruel, without culture?
  • What is the effect on a young boy not to be called by his Aboriginal name? We have always called you Louis Delisle, yet this is not your name…
  • When did you start becoming a teacher of Aboriginal culture and language and what lead you within that path?
  • Losing in lacrosse; does it have the same meaning as it does for white players
  • As a coach and educator how did you react towards repressive or extra tolerant officials; in one case “they’’ were over penalizing your players (the ‘’justification was ‘’to educate you’’) and in the other case ‘’they’’ were overly protective and called very little against you (the justification was to balance out unfairness towards Aboriginals)?
  • I have never heard you bring up ‘’race issues’’ in the more than 50 years I have known you. Yet there were so many incidents that were ‘’racially charged’’ against your teams or players. You never seemed to point the finger. Why was that
  • How do you deal with ‘’legitimate ignorance’’ from people who show very little sensitivity. Or who make mistakes after mistakes…
  • Why has the Aboriginal movement (based on land claims, language, culture, autonomy) not ‘’hooked up’’ with the ‘’Quebec movement’’ which stresses many of the same ideals, concerns and goals?
  • Many in Québec feel the French language is doomed; how do you look at your work with the Aboriginal language that you teach now?
  • What are the political challenges for the Aboriginal narrative (for lacrosse) resting upon the existence of a Creator…within a secular city and where science challenges the existence of a lone Creator?
  • In comparison to the land claims quests what gains have been accomplished with the declaration related to non cesseeded lands upon which the ‘’white civil society’’ now sits and rules?
  • What type of warrior are you Louis?
  • How would you want to be remembered for your contribution to the game and to your people?

Enjoy the video on www.thinklacrosse.ca