Manual Keepers of the Game

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Lacrosse was born in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory as a sacred game, traditionally reserved for men. Just off the reservation at Salmon River.
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Teenage female members of the tribe want to play lacrosse, a sport created by their ancestors, but meet immediate resistance by public funding at their school, chastisements from their fellow students and worst of all, outright denial by their tribe since they are women.

This movie captures all of that conflict with adept understanding. There are moments littered throughout the first 20 minutes where I genuinely cried as I felt as squeezed and walked over as these girls.

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It does an absolutely marvelous job of putting the viewer in their head-space. And as a sports movie, this picture somehow finds the appropriate tone, whether by editing style, music, or where to put the camera, for every individual lacrosse match. On the fly, they seem to figure out the story-line of the game and cinematically capture that. Unbelievably adept filmmaking. I could not recommend this movie highly enough. Go view this.

Keepers Of The Rift

E-Mail will not be published. Website optional. User Reviews Some have already seen this film and some of them have already commented on the web.


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Welcome to the Captain LAX lacrosse blog. There is progression in the school where they eventually raise the Mohawk flag, have a Native American Day and hear the kids speak in Mohawk. Their culture is coming into the school. I think we leave on a really hopeful note that is genuine.

Keepers of the Game

It's still a sports movie, but I'm really proud of how much we were able to pack into what I think is an entertaining and watchable film. There is a cultural resurgence and a lot of the engine of that is girls playing lacrosse. We lived on a Mohawk reservation, filmed with Mohawk kids, and native families in a community with mostly women because those were the important figures in the kids' lives.

This is something I have to think about coming in as this white guy from New York City.


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  • For me it's always about really staying conscious of that fact and wanting to always do justice to story, what I'm finding there and how I'm connecting with people. I haven't found a shortcut to just spending time with people, trying to learn things and to earn their trust. JE: We were given so much access. Louise Hern, who is a clan mother and also the mother of one of the team captains, talked to a lot of people to advocate for us.

    No one had ever done that before from outside the community.

    Those are things that, that to my knowledge, a lot of people haven't been granted access to, and it came with building trust. The community really responded to when I told them the mission of the film. Too often, I think, the stories that are told about native communities aren't filled with a lot of hope and inspiration. I think they really responded to that because somebody was coming and doing something different.

    Keepers of the Game

    JE: I did a lot of research before I went, but basically I couldn't prepare myself for what it was like to be there. That's what I always find when reading about a place, a people or a culture.

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    It's so different. To actually be there, I learned so much. I had great teachers because the subjects of the film became my teachers and my guides. That's what I do as a documentary filmmaker, ask questions and listen. Thinking back to what I learned in history class, I really learned nothing about the history of the state that I lived in. These are people that lived throughout the state and I didn't know anything about them. There's a scene in the film where a teacher says, "We're like something in history.

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    It's like we're not here. I hope this film provides a window for people into this community that I think people have seen very little about. JE: Watching a film is such a personal thing. I think people see different things in films and focus on different areas based on their own experience. There are a lot of people who are going to see this film who will be introduced to this community for the first time and who might have misconceptions about what it means to be Native American, what it means to live on a reservation, what it means to play sports.


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    • My hope is that people will see this film and find a connection and will see some of themselves, and be moved by it, be changed some way through seeing it. Sports is such a great entry point to complex stories. It's such an important thing for girls and boys to have access to sports. In this case, you see that it means even more because it's so connected to who these girls are and who they're becoming.