Category Archives: Sports

Holding On to A Racing Tradition

“Indian Relay, a type of bareback horse racing practiced by Native American tribes in the plains states, blends heritage and danger. For one family, it’s a shared passion that means everything.” V. J. Blue, The New York Times

Richard Long Feather, left, with his sons Jace, in white shirt, and Jestin. Credit- Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Excerpt: Holding Tight to a Racing Tradition, Photographs and Text by Victor J. Blue, The New York Times

“Richard Long Feather is searching for his son Jace among the bareback riders as they storm toward the grandstand at the Crow Fair. Stepping away from the rail and onto the dirt of the track, Richard raises his arms above his head as a signal: In one motion, he is telling Jace where to aim and warning Jace’s horse to slow down. Before Jace even reaches his father, he leaps from the back of his horse. Hitting the ground bounding, Jace grabs a handful of mane of a second horse, held by his brother, Jestin, and swings himself onto its back. Jestin slaps the second mount on the rump, and it fires back onto the track. Richard hands off the first horse to a fourth teammate and braces for the next exchange. Dust swirls. The crowd cheers.

This is Indian Relay.

For the Long Feathers, races likes these are both a family undertaking and a deep-rooted passion, a form of competition practiced and sustained by Native American tribes in the plains states. In Indian Relay’s traditional form, one rider completes three circuits of a track, changing his mount after each loop.

Richard, who works as a maintenance supervisor at a local hospital, loading his horses into his trailer after an evening of training.

Each race features up to eight teams consisting of a rider, three steely handlers and three horses. The competitors ride bareback, using only reins and a whip to stay on. As the rider approaches the starting line for each successive lap, he leaps from a running horse onto a fresh one. It is dangerous, athletic and intensely competitive.

Richard Long Feather, the head of his family and his team, was born in 1963 on the Standing Rock reservation, which straddles the border of North and South Dakota and which is home to the Hunkpapa band of the Lakota to which he belongs. Raised by his grandparents, he spoke only Lakota until he was 5. The first horse he rode was yoked to his grandfather’s wagon as it delivered water and provisions to isolated families…As a teenager, he began entering so-called suicide races — unofficial cross-country competitions on improvised courses. After his uncles recruited him as a rider for their Indian Relay team, he built a reputation as a tough rider and dependable breaker of colts.

Richard’s thoroughbreds, failures on the racetrack, now carry his son in Indian Relay races.

As an adult, he and his wife, Virginia, settled their young family near Fort Yates, N.D., where Richard taught his children to ride. The Long Feathers entered their first Indian Relay in 2013… Training for relays is a constant said of the 6 a.m. agility workouts that fill his winter months…Conditioning for the horses starts early, as well. ‘This year we started and there was still three feet of snow on the ground,’ he said. ‘Make ’em jump through those big snow banks. It just builds ’em up.’ In the springtime Jace and Jestin move to the track to train the horses in pairs, working on their exchanges. These split-second handoffs are the key to Indian Relay success. The top relay teams all have quality horses, but every competitor knows a relay is won or lost in the exchanges: If the two transitions are not performed flawlessly, it will not make much difference how fast the horses are…It isn’t just the riders who have to be skilled athletes. The setup man who holds the next mount as the rider circles the track — on Richard’s team, this is Jestin’s job — has to be a great horseman, too. ‘t’s impossible to hold a horse still for longer than a minute,’ Real Bird said. ‘You’ve got to let a horse be a horse.’ And the catcher — Richard, on Team Long Feather — who must stop the speeding horse that arrives has to be fearless. ‘He’s going to get run over,”’Real Bird said, ‘and he’s got to be O.K. with that.’

Richard blessing, or “smudging,” his horses with sage before a race at the Crow Fair.

As post time nears, Richard fills a can with dried sage and lights it. While the boys wrap the legs of the three horses they will run — Cabaret, Mr. Coke Man and Runaway Cal — Richard makes his way from stall to stall, wafting the gray smoke over the horses’ backs, half-singing prayers in Lakota for speed and safety in the race.

Ken Real Bird, a Crow horseman, calls the races at the fair. He has seen the sport grow from a bush-league pastime to a high-stakes competition, with purses worth tens of thousands of dollars. No one knows for sure when Indian Relay began in its modern iteration. The Shoshone Bannock Tribe in Idaho claims to be the originator of the sport, but Real Bird notes that the first Crow Fair, in 1904, had horse racing.

The first heat goes well for the Long Feathers. The exchanges are smooth, and Jace runs hard for second place but is caught at the wire and finishes third. It is good enough to secure a spot in the Sunday’s championship race, but Jace knows it won’t be easy. Teams are getting better every year. ‘Two years ago, you could be good and win anywhere,’ he said. ‘Now, you’ve got to be good just to keep up.’

Richard Long Feather feeding his horses.

The Crow Fair races offer unsatisfying results for the Long Feather team: Jace finishes in fifth place, though the family still heads home with a check.

Richard Long Feather’s horses grazing after competition.

As the sun rises the next day, Richard pulls into his driveway and unloads the horses. Restless after hours in the trailer, they sprint off over the prairie. In minutes, they are out of sight.”

Sioux Nation Welcomes NBA Star Kyrie Irving Home

“NBA all-star Kyrie Irving will be honored in a homecoming ceremony on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the Prairie Knights Pavilion. The celebration and ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will include a naming ceremony, performances, and a community feed. This event is open to the public.” L. Rickert, Native News Net

Boston Celtic point guard Kyrie Irving, with an eagle feather tied to his hair [in honor of his Sioux mother] The Boston Globe

Excerpt: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe WelcomesHome NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, By Levi Ricket, Native News Net

“Kyrie Irving is a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA)…As part of the Team USA basketball squad, he earned an Olympic Gold Medal 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro…The family connection to Irving comes from the White Mountain family (also known as Mountain) of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Irving won a Olympic Gold Medal at 2016 summer games.

The White Mountain family comes from the Bear Soldier District, on the South Dakota side of the reservation. His late mother, Elizabeth Ann Larson, was adopted out of the Tribe when she was a child.

Irving’s grandmother is the late, Meredith Marie Mountain, who is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. His great-grandfather is Moses Mountain and great-grandmother is Edith Morisette-Mountain. During the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline, Irving gave his support to the Water Protectors.

Irving designed shoe for Nike N7 line to honor water, his tribe and his mother.

Irving recently released a Nike N7 shoe, that he designed, to honor the water, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and his late mother.

Additionally, he has a tattoo of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal logo on the back of his neck. Irving is very proud to be Lakota and to be from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

‘We could not be more excited, he has made us all very proud. To know that he has not forgotten his roots and is taking the time before he starts his basketball season to visit the People, his People, shows that Kyrie has great character and pride in his heritage,’ comments Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith.”

 

*Sign up for  ESL Voices Free Lesson Plan Alerts

Get an email alert for new lesson plans and posts.

We do not traffic in advertising, so you’ll never receive anything from us but these alerts. We use MailChimp to collect email addresses and manage our alert mailing lists.

Email Address

https://mailchi.mp/74f6e93584ed/esl-voices-sign-up

Category: Social, Sports | Tags: ,

European Sports Teams Still Use Native Mascots

“Benjamin Bundervoet was wearing his normal workday outfit — a blue-and-white feathered headdress, a fringed tunic and chaps, bright paint streaked across his cheeks as he stepped onto the grass. For the next few hours, Bundervoet would be Buffalo Ben, the official team mascot for K.A.A. Gent, a top Belgian soccer team. As the players warmed up before kickoff at a recent home match, Bundervoet smiled and waved a flag bearing the team’s logo, the profile of a Native American, which is also plastered around the Ghelamco Arena.” A. Keh, The New York Times

Buffalo Ben, the official team mascot for the Belgian soccer team K.A.A. Gent. His sidekick is a female version named Buffalo Mel. Credit Jimmy Bolcina:Photonews, via Getty Images

Excerpt: Tomahawk Chops and Native American Mascots: In Europe, Teams Don’t See a Problem, By Andrew Keh, The New York Times

“Scenes like this play out every weekend across Europe, where teams big and small and across a variety of sports employ Native American names, symbols and concepts of wildly variable authenticity in their branding. There’s the hockey team in the Czech Republic that performs a yearly sage-burning ritual on the ice, the rugby team in England whose fans wear headdresses and face paint, the German football team called the Redskins and many more.

Exeter Rugby Club, a top English rugby union team, rebranded itself as the Exeter Chiefs in 1999. Its mascot, Big Chief, appears at matches waving a toy tomahawk.Credit Stu Forster:Getty Images

For years, these teams were insulated from the vigorous discussion about the use of this type of imagery by sports teams in the United States, where critics long ago deemed the practice offensive and anachronistic.

This year, the Cleveland Indians announced that they would stop using their Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms beginning in 2019, continuing a decades-long trend in which thousands of such references have disappeared from the American sports landscape.

During that same period, though, new examples were appearing in Europe, where teams and fans have long viewed the mascots and logos through kaleidoscopes of local culture and, detached from the charged history that the imagery carries in the North America, formed their own ideas about what is socially acceptable.

But these ideas are slowly being challenged, and increasingly these teams are finding themselves being asked to confront the same questions of representation, appropriation and stereotyping. K.A.A. Gent, for example, devotes a lengthy page on its website to the history of its logo and nickname, but notes only that the club is ‘aware of the public debate in American society around the use of stereotypical images and caricatures.’

“Americans, Canadians, they’re working on this issue, talking about it, debating,” said Stephanie Pratt, a cultural ambassador for the Crow Creek South Dakota Sioux and longtime resident of Exeter, England. “Europeans are late to the table. They’re just beginning to debate it — or maybe not at all.”

Pratt has found herself in the middle of one such debate involving the Exeter Chiefs, the defending champions of England’s rugby union league.

Exeter, which rebranded itself as the Chiefs in 1999, calls its team store the Trading Post and its online fan group the Tribe. Fans chat on a message board named Pow-Wow.

Among the 15 bars at the team’s home stadium are Wigwam, Cheyenne, Apache, Mohawk, Tomahawk, Buffalo and Bison… The Frolunda Indians, a professional hockey team from Gothenburg, Sweden, was known as Vastra Frolunda IF until 1995, around the time that the Swedish Hockey League began encouraging its clubs to adopt American-style nicknames. Inspired by the Chicago Blackhawks and the fact that the team in the 1960s was said to play in a “vilda vastern,” or Wild West, style, it chose the Indians.

The club developed a cartoon logo depicting an Indian chief with a headdress fanned around his stern face, and for a time the team’s costumed mascot was a Native American hockey player with a missing tooth and feathers poking through his helmet. (These days, the team’s in-stadium mascot is an anthropomorphic bison.)

‘We, from a distance, follow the discussions about the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians,’ said Peter Pettersson Kymmer, a Frolunda team spokesman.

‘But we sincerely think that our Indian, in our point of view, is in no way offensive to the Native Americans. On the contrary, it’s a tribute, and we’re proud to wear it.”

Category: mascots, Sports

As Chief Wahoo Logo Leaves Cleveland Indians Logo Supporters Get Angry

“For decades, community activists in Ohio have held demonstrations at the Cleveland Indians’ home opener to protest the team’s name and logo — a grinning, red-faced named Chief Wahoo that some consider racist. And in what has become another tradition, Chief Wahoo’s supporters have screamed back as they head toward the turnstiles at Progressive Field…. on Friday at Cleveland’s first home game of the season the confrontation was more crowded, more tense and more vulgar than usual.” M. Stevens and D.  Waldstein, The New York Times

ICTMN

Excerpt: As Cleveland Indians Prepare to Part With Chief Wahoo, Tensions Reignite, By Matt Stevens and David  Waldstein, The New York Times

“The heightened atmosphere was likely in part because of the team’s decision to stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on its uniforms beginning next year — which angered some fans when it was announced in January.

Cleveland’s baseball team is just one part of a cultural conversation that stretches across the sports landscape. Many people vigorously oppose the use of Native American names and images as mascots and insignias, saying they are demeaning or worse.

Protesters For the mascot. Slate

Several teams use such logos, including the N.F.L.’s Washington Redskins, the N.H.L.’s Chicago Blackhawks and the N.C.A.A.’s Florida State Seminoles. But some find the Indians’ caricature, which has existed in various forms since 1947, particularly distasteful. Philip Yenyo [is] the executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio. One video of this year’s demonstration, which was organized by Mr. Yenyo’s group and the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance, has been viewed more than 110,000 times.

‘People think this is just now coming up,’ Mr. Yenyo said. ‘We were never covered before. All the other demonstrations were barely touched upon.’ In another video, also produced by cleveland.com, dozens of protesters yelled, ‘Seventy years of harming the Native American community is enough’; ‘Change the name, change the logo!’; and ‘Burn, Wahoo, burn!’

In response, some fans walking to the stadium hurled profanity-laced tirades at the protesters, along with ugly names and obscene gestures…Several flaunted team jackets, jerseys and caps emblazoned with the Chief Wahoo logo. One fan made whooping noises as she walked by.

Mr. Yenyo called this year’s rally ‘a little more boisterous’ than normal, but he noted that there were no arrests and no violence. But Mr. Yenyo said that was not enough, noting that fans should expect to see protesters again next season. We’re going to continue until they change the name of the team,” he said. We want the name gone.”

Category: Sports

World’s First Indigenous Olympics in Brazil: Fire, Feathers, Fierce!

“What’s billed as the first “indigenous Olympics” kicked off Thursday with a raucous cultural mash-up that saw grimacing Maori warriors, gong-bearing Filipinos and feather-crowned tribespeople from Brazil preside over a traditional fire-lighting ceremony.” LatinofoxNews

Indigenous from the Kibatsa ethnic group leave their headdresses on the sidelines of a soccer game at the World Indigenous Games in Palmas, Brazil, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015-Oct. 31, 2015

Indigenous from the Kibatsa ethnic group leave their headdresses on the sidelines of a soccer game at the World Indigenous Games in Palmas, Brazil, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015-Oct. 31, 2015

Excerpt: World’s first ‘indigenous Olympics’ kicks off in remote Brazilian city. Latino Fox News

“The World Indigenous Games officially opens Friday, when Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is expected to attend a lavish opening ceremony in the games’ host city, Palmas, a remote outpost in the sunbaked heart of Brazil.

A Kayapo Indian attends the cultural festival of the World Indigenous.Photo- todayonline.

A Kayapo Indian attends the cultural festival of the World Indigenous.Photo- todayonline.

Indigenous participants from all over the world. Photo-digitaljournal

Indigenous participants from all over the world. Photo-digitaljournal

Tribal representatives spontaneously broke into traditional song and dance as the media and other indigenous peoples from as far afield as Ethiopia and Mongolia formed tight, flashbulb-popping, iPhone-snapping circles around them.

Members of the Brazilian Kayapo Metykitre tribe compete in a tug-of-war. Photo-the guardian

Members of the Brazilian Kayapo Metykitre tribe compete in a tug-of-war. Photo-the guardian

Tough competition- Members of the Brazilian Enawene-Awe indigenous group compete. Photo-dailymail

Tough competition- Members of the Brazilian Enawene-Awe indigenous group compete. Photo-dailymail

A Maori man from New Zealand dances during the opening ceremony. Photo-ibtimes

A Maori man from New Zealand dances during the opening ceremony. Photo-ibtimes

A phalanx of Maoris from New Zealand, looking fierce with wide-eyed stares and menacing throat-slicing gestures, appeared to stand guard over the knot of Manoti men from Brazil’s central Mato Grosso state as they labored over the fire, finally emerging triumphant with a flaming torch.

Indigenous Protesters. Photo; riotimesonline

Indigenous Protesters. Photo; riotimesonline

The upbeat mood of the fire ceremony contrasted with the palpable anger at a protest earlier in the day by a small group of Brazilian indigenous people denouncing what they said was poor organization and unnecessary spending on the games. Narube Werreria said she saw the event as a bid to cover up the real situation of Brazil’s beleaguered indigenous populations.”

“The government is using the event to cover our eyes and say everything is all right here…But everything is not all right.” ~Narube Werreria~Member of the Karaja tribe.

 

Category: Sports

Dine College Student Is Also a Rodeo Star!

“By all accounts, Delvecchio Kaye (Navajo) is just like any other first semester Diné College student, balancing his studies and personal life. What sets this 22-year-old freshman apart from his peers is that he is a rising star in the national collegiate rodeo arena. Delvecchio, a member of the Diné College rodeo team and first semester freshman, is headed to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Bareback Riding, June 14-20 in Casper, Wyoming.” L. Tapahonso, Tribal College Journal 

Delvecchio Kaye (Navajo) Photo- Tribalcollegejournal.org

Delvecchio Kaye (Navajo) Photo- Tribalcollegejournal.org

Excerpt: Navajo Freshman Earns Spot at College National Finals Rodeo-Lori Tapahonso, Tribalcollegejournal

“He ended his freshman season in second place in the Grand Canyon regional standings, and 16th in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association standings.January is the first time he set foot on the Diné College campus in Tsaile as a student, but it was not his first time at the rodeo. 

Delvecchio Kaye comes from a rodeo family. photo- Nativenews today

Delvecchio Kaye comes from a rodeo family. photo- Nativenews today

Delvecchio grew up in a rodeo family; his father was a bull rider and bronc rider. His early experiences in the arena included mutton busting, junior bull riding and steer riding. Eventually he found his event in bareback riding. When asked about his winnings, he shyly chuckles, I don’t know how many I’ve won, but I have lot of buckles at home.  His humility is what keeps him grounded.

Ultimately, his future goals include finishing his education with a degree in Diné Studies and to qualify for the National Finals rodeo. Being surrounded by strong supporters is one sure way Delvecchio will achieve his goals. His father continues to coach and support him, as do his friends, many of whom he completes against. We push each other to get better, even though we compete against each other, he says with a smile.”

“It’s good to see Delvecchio do well in school and in sports here at Diné College. We always encourage student learning first and [being an] athlete second.”

~ Jackson Craig, Diné College coach~

Category: Sports