An Iroquois lacrosse champion who is also a producer and an actor will be the guest speaker at Team Redstone's Native American Heritage Month Observance on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The Aviation and Missile Command is hosting the observance, which is set for 10 a.m. in the Bob Jones Auditorium.
Neal Powless is from the Eel clan of the Onondaga Nation near Syracuse, New York, and the son of Chief Irving Powless Jr. He is a three-time All-American in lacrosse; a member of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team that played in six World Lacrosse Championships; and a film producer of both dramatic and documentary films focused on lacrosse and the Onondaga Nation's involvement in the sport.
Currently, Powless is a doctorate fellow at Syracuse University's S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications, where his study focus is Films, Mass Media and Indigenous Imagery.
He is also the head coach of the Netherlands National Lacrosse Team, making him the first Native American to coach an international lacrosse team based outside of the U.S. He coached the Netherlands team in the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver, Colorado, and the 2016 European Lacrosse Championships in Hungary.
As a co-producer for the Major Motion Picture "Crooked Arrows," Powless was responsible for development of its Native American story line, and for the film's cultural sensitivity and financial investments. The 2012 drama is the story of a Native American lacrosse team making its way through a prep school league tournament.
Powless also co-produced the New York Emmy-nominated "Game of Life: Heart and Soul of the Onondaga," a 2012 short documentary about the cultural origins of the game of lacrosse and its spiritual significance as the "Creator's Game" to the people of the Onondaga Nation. Powless was also a producer for the 2013 documentary "America's First Sport" that tells the story of the origins of lacrosse as the oldest and fastest growing sport in America.
Powless has also collaborated with ESPN on multiple film projects.
While attending Nazareth College in New York, Powless became known for being a three-time All-American lacrosse player. He was drafted by the Rochester Knighthawks of the then Major Indoor Lacrosse League, which led to a seven-year career that included the team's first national title in 1997.
He was a member of the Iroquois Nationals from 1994 to 2006. In 2002, while playing with the Iroquois Nationals, he made the World Lacrosse Championship's All-World Team as an Attackman. He won a Silver medal in the 2003 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, and five professional and national championships in his career. He was inducted into the Nazareth College Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Powless has a master's degree in Counseling from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Nazareth College. He and his wife live in upstate New York with their four children.
Powless continues to be involved in lacrosse through coaching as well as traveling across the U.S. doing field lacrosse training camps and exhibition games with the Syracuse Stingers.