The Lacrosse Ruse of 1763

by AnotherClioBeliever

Defining what it means to be “English,” on a June day in 1763 British Major George Etherington, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, happily allowed himself to be caught unaware. Why? The Native Americans had kindly invited him to watch a friendly match of lacrosse between two of their tribes and being British he donned his funny little white-whig while leaving his weapons at home.

He then gathered most of the garrison to watch with him. According to the major’s accounts written later, they left the gates open and their weapons back in the fort. Etherington cheered for the Ojibwe along with the two chiefs of that tribe, Minweweh and Madjeckewiss After all, the major had bet that the Ojibwe would win. [Link]

Those who are mildly steeped in frontier wars probably know what follows. The British NCOs and conscripts were massacred mercilessly. The officers were used as ransom and anyone who was French was sent packing (presumably, for the same reason that Pontiac sometimes allowed women and children to live).

The next time you want to watch a lacrosse game, keep an eye on the exits!

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