As a Native American, Andrew Lee has understood the importance of lacrosse since very early in life. 

“For us, as Haudenosaunee people, we really view lacrosse as a gift from the Creator,” he said. “It’s a medicine game and a game that promotes healing. It’s a game that we play to please our Creator.”

Now, in his role as chair of the US Lacrosse Native American Advisory Council, he is committed to helping bring the game to as many people as possible.

Earlier this week, Lee joined Kyle Harrison for an Instagram Live chat to highlight the importance of diversity in lacrosse. Their IG Live interview was the newest installment of in a four-part series hosted by US Lacrosse to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

“For me, diversity is variety,” he said. “It just makes sense that if we want to grow the game that we have to reach out and engage diverse audiences. It’s not only the right thing to do, it simply makes sense.”

A former collegiate player at Hamilton (N.Y.) College, Lee spent a decade in corporate America. That experience reinforced for him the importance of inclusion.

“It’s very clear that increased diversity makes good business sense,” Lee said. “In one study, companies that had racial and ethnic diversity on their executive teams outperformed their peers by over 30-percent.”

In addition to his volunteer duties with US Lacrosse, Lee is also the immediate past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He has served on the board of the Tewaaraton Foundation since 2012.

“The Tewaaraton is an opportunity to showcase the best players in the sport, the best of the best,” he said. “But the other thing that gets me really excited is that it pays respect and honor to the game’s roots. It teaches folks about the importance and the significance of the spiritual side of lacrosse.”

While Lee understands that there is no silver bullet in solving the challenge of diversity in lacrosse, he does note that overcoming one of the principle barriers to participation, the cost of the sport, is critically important.

“I’m excited about efforts to get sticks into the hands of kids that might not otherwise get them,” Lee said. “US Lacrosse has its TryLax program, which is going phenomenally well. We want lacrosse to become another option for all the great athletes out there.”