Gwynedd Mercy Lacrosse Hosts Special Guests: PAZA, Tree of Life for Saturday Doubleheader

By Greg Gornick

Gwynedd Mercy University Title IX Coordinator Robert Wood is pleased to welcome the campus community to the Athletic Complex this Saturday, March 5, “Chante Waste ciyusape ksto -With a good heart and hand I welcome you” for respective women’s and men’s lacrosse games versus Arcadia University (12:00 p.m.) and Bryn Athyn College (3:00 p.m.).

The game of lacrosse or “The Creator’s Game” traces its origins to the Native American culture. To honor the people who founded the sport that they love, the Gwynedd Mercy University women’s and men’s lacrosse teams are pleased to host special guests; Delwin (Elk Bear) Fiddler Jr., Rev. Dr. Samora Free, and Ms. Lora (Delmage) Bennett of PAZA, Tree of Life for a blessing of prayer, song, and dance.

“I would like to thank our guests for taking the time to attend our games,” said Gwynedd Mercy University Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Blase Cesarone. “It is an honor to be able to share this game with you today. As Lyle Thompson, member of the Mohawk nation has described it "Lacrosse to us is a lot more important; it carries a lot more meaning. It is a part of our religion." I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your wonderful tradition.” Gwynedd Mercy University Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Shannon Algeo agreed, “We are so excited to bring these guests to campus for our doubleheader. Lacrosse is truly so much more than X's and O's. It is a way to grow as a person, build confidence, spread love, and it truly has a deep and unique history. I am so grateful our teams will get to learn more about the sport we love in such a powerful way.”

A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a descendent of Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, Delwin (Elk Bear) Fiddler Jr. is the Founder, President, and CEO of PAZA, Tree of Life; a national intertribal support organization dedicated to the revival of Native American culture, wisdom, inter-tribal healing and connection. As their cultural ambassador, Mr. Fiddler is an artist, educator, healer, and storyteller.

He has traveled far and wide to share Native American dance, story, and song with people all over the world, including two United States presidents and the British royal family. He is a knowledgeable tour guide and protector of the ancestral lands of North America or “Turtle Island”, who has dedicated his life to environmental and water conservation. As an educator and group facilitator, Mr. Fiddler has spent countless hours sharing his culture’s beliefs of the natural, native, and non-native worlds including topics like planting prayers, the Medicine Wheel, interconnection, healing indigenous histories, sacred indigenous sites, and terracing and earth contouring.

Rev. Dr. Samora Free, aka “The Lovesmith”, is the associate director of The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies and owner of Common Ground Ceremonies; an award-winning event and ceremony business located in New York City. As a Master Healer, she has dedicated her life to bring harmony and the love of all people. She is an accomplished singer/songwriter who has traveled the world performing with artists all nations, earning the title Minister of Music for The Interfaith Temple. Rev. Dr. Free sits on PAZA’s Advisory Board for DEI/Cultural Affairs and is the Director of the Arts & Culture Department.

Ms. Lora (Delmage) Bennett has been immersed in Native American culture since childhood. She participated in the first Longest Walk; a 2,800-mile trek for justice from California to Washington, D.C. in 1978. Her passion is educating people about MMIWG and the Every Child Matters movement.

Parties interested in learning more about our special guests can reach out to Gwynedd Mercy University Title IX Coordinator, Robert Wood at 215-646-7300 Ext. 21140 or