Lacrosse Language

Summer is officially upon us, and that means it’s time to pick up our lacrosse sticks for peekitahaminki. In many different parts of our community we have already played the first game of the season and look forward to many more after two long years without it. Here is a quick look at what the word peekitahaminki means and some other variations of it that we can use throughout this summer.

Lacrosse players shooting at and defending a goal post
2019 Annual Community Lacrosse Game in Miami, OK
Photo by Karen L. Baldwin

peekit + aham + inki

(discard, throw it) + (by tool) + (verb piece “one who”)

This word literally translates as “one throws it by tool”, referring to the act of getting rid of the ball from your stick by throwing it to someone else or shooting. Our other words related to lacrosse are based on this same setup with some pieces switched out and some sound changes. For example, our word for “lacrosse stick” is pakitahaakani:

pakit + ah + aakan + i

(discard, throw) + (by tool) + (tool that does action) + (common noun ending)             

This would literally translate as “the tool that is used to throw it”.

Myaamia student throwing a ball with a wooden lacrosse stick
Myaamia Heritage Award students at Miami University warming up for the spring 2021 lacrosse game on campus
Photo by Jonathan M. Fox

Our next word is used to start a game of lacrosse. The person in charge will step out to the center of the field and yell the command, pakitahantaawi “let’s play lacrosse!”. This word is broken down below:

pakit + ahan + taawi

(discard, throw) + (by tool) + (we all, command)

This word literally translates as “Let’s all discard it!”. Now you have three words to get you started playing the game of lacrosse, enjoy the summertime and I look forward to seeing you out on the lacrosse field!

peekitahaminki    “lacrosse”

pakitahaakani       “lacrosse stick”

pakitahantaawi    “let’s play lacrosse!”

Myaamia lacrosse stick workshop participants and their completed sticks
Participants of the 2019 wooden lacrosse stick workshop in Miami, OK with their completed sticks
Photo by Jonathan M. Fox

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