Herbert Martin, a Mohawk Indian of the Six Nations, was a whittler and axe handler who started, many years ago, making lacrosse sticks.
He would go back into the Reservation woods, cut down a hickory tree, take his log and split it expertly, taking strips two inches square to work with his knife and chisel and out came a real, honest-to-goodness lacrosse stick. He also hand bored and hand laced the sticks. It was around 1925 when he first started making his sticks. In 1931, Scotty Martin, a Native who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International Lacrosse League, first introduced the Martin stick. Scotty was the leading scorer with the Toronto team then. Fellow players saw that he could handle the ball better, carry it farther and shoot it faster with his narrower, deep-pocketed Indian stick with the loose gut. The whole team opted for the newer type sticks. The idea spread from there. As many of the star players on both coasts came from the Six Nations Reserve, Martin needed no other form of advertising. Before long, players in British Columbia and the Maritimes and all over Ontario wanted his sticks.
At one time, according to reports, the New Westminster Salmonbellies used his sticks exclusively. Over time, he even started sending his sticks to the United States. Martin once was one of Canada’s top flight players himself. A student of the game, he knew the tales his ancestors had told him and often talked about how the game was once a seven-man game and that after seven goals had been scored, the game was over. Sometimes the game would take up to two days to play. After his playing days, he also spent time as the manager of the Mohawk Stars Field Lacrosse Team.
Overall, he would spend nearly 50 years helping to promote the game of lacrosse and his Martin lacrosse stick would become the envy of every lacrosse player.