Tribal West
What This Lacrosse Movie Hopes to Accomplish by Filming the Iroquois National Team
10.19.2017 - By Matt Anderson

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — “Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation” is about the Haudenosaunee people, or Iroquois as they are more commonly known. The movie, co-directed by Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter, specifically focuses on the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team.

In an email interview with Utah Lacrosse News, Baxter told ULN he set out to create the movie to “show how a country with a population of 125,000 has survived” and how they are “now able to compete for a world lacrosse championship.”

“Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation” will be playing at the Fort Douglas Post Theater on October 25, 2017. (via Spirit Game Facebook page)

Using the world lacrosse championships as a framework for the story, “Spirit Game” seeks to tackle an even larger issue.

The Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee, identifies itself as a sovereign nation. They maintain they have the right to be able to do things such as issue their own passport. Britain, the home nation of the 2010 World Outdoor Lacrosse Championships, denied the Iroquois’ passports. This raised the larger issue of the sovereignty of indigenous populations across the world.

 “Spirit Nation” tries to address this topic.

The film specifically mentions the Doctrine of Discovery. This was a document created 500 years ago by Pope Alexander VI that allowed Christians to colonize lands without those of their same faith living on them. “Incredibly, the Haudenosaunee people have survived,” said Baxter. The whole identity of the movie “represents the resilience of the Iroquois people.”

Baxter said that creating this movie was a “life-changing” experience for him. “America has trouble recognizing its imperfections,” said Baxter. Baxter said he hopes that this film will “help educate” people, as well as entertain them.

“Spirit Game” also includes incredible lacrosse action featuring the four Thompson brothers: Jeremy, Jerome, Miles, and Lyle.

“Spirit Game can be seen at the University of Utah Fort Douglas Post Theater on Wednesday, October 25 at 7:00 PM. The screening is hosted by the University of Utah – Department of Film & Media Arts. For more information, please visit the Facebook event.

A separate screening will be held the next day, October 26, at the Park City Film Series in Park City, Utah. The free showing begins at 7:00 PM. The film is 102 minutes, with time for a question-and-answer session afterwards with co-director Peter Baxter and Cassandra Begay. Begay is a member of the Navajo tribe and a Pandos tribe liaison.

Besides the screenings, “Spirit Game” can be seen on the Starz television network in December.