John Alexander Hunter
John Alexander Hunter is a Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska descendant and White Earth Nation descendant living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He is a Muscogee Creek Nation citizen through his paternal grandmother’s (Alexander) family.
Encouraged and supported by parents and family, Hunter took great interests in most sports in his home community of St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned the Dave Winfield Scholarship Award for athletic, scholarly, and service achievement in high school. With little more than the encouragement of a literature teacher, John started the first ever organized lacrosse team for his high school in 1994, which went on the state championship its first two years of play. Many of the players had been looked over for the school's most popular sports of baseball and hockey. Lacrosse quickly became popular as many of these student athletes were without an outlet for competitive team athletics. This was an exciting time to organize lacrosse, since there were only 8 teams in the inaugural statewide league, and interest was growing rapidly.
Hunter took his lacrosse skills to Stanford University, he played four years of lacrosse and earned team captain honors his senior year. Focusing on starting a family and career, John took a break from lacrosse organizing until 2014 when he co-founded the non-profit sports organization, Twin Cities Native Lacrosse. He was inspired by other local indigenous lacrosse groups such as the Lightning Sticks Society.
Since its beginning, Twin Cities Native Lacrosse has helped inspire the rapid growth of the traditional lacrosse games throughout the western Great Lakes communities. The traditional lacrosse game had not been played on a large scale in the region for over 100 years. Facilitating games, hosting skills clinics, and promoting traditional stick-making arts was the core work of the group. Hunter used the network of schools and indigenous youth groups in the Twin Cities to place the Anishinaabe and Dakota ball games directly in front of hundreds of Indigenous youth. Many now teach the game themselves. In 2018, the success of the community work was honored with a Super Bowl Legacy Grant.
In 2020, Hunter was selected as the Head Coach for the Minneapolis Boys’ High School Lacrosse team, and became one of the first indigenous lacrosse head coaches in the state’s history. Also in 2020, John became the founding board member for the international non-profit organization, Anishinaabe Baagaadowewin, with a mission to share Anishinaabe history and culture -- specifically about traditional ball games. Hunter helped Anishinabe Baagaadowewin complete the initial work towards the the formation of an Anishinaabe National team.
In 2022, Hunter was the primary consultant to BBC Radio’s podcast about ‘Great Lakes’ traditional lacrosse, which was broadcast to millions of listeners worldwide.