Bill Thorpe (Sac & Fox), son of Jim Thorpe. (Photo by Reid Williams)
Published October 26, 2015
KANSAS CITY— For the second-consecutive season, the Kansas City Chiefs partnered with the American Indian Community Working Group to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, which begins next Sunday. The celebration took place at Arrowhead Stadium, for the Chiefs matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan spoke about the event saying, “With their (American Indian Community Working Group) help and guidance, we are continuing to build on our goal of educating our fans and creating awareness of American Indian history and heritage within the Chiefs Kingdom.”
Along with the American Indian Community Working Group, several tribes were represented on Sunday at the event. The tribes included the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Kaw Nation, Modoc Tribe, Peoria Tribe, Quapaw Tribe, Shawnee Tribe and Wyandotte Nation.
The activities for the American Indian Heritage Month Kickoff were held both inside and outside of the stadium. Before the game, a representative from the American Indian Community Working Group was outside the stadium at the Ford Fan Experience providing information about American Indian Heritage Month and cultural awareness.
Inside the stadium, the events began with a Blessing of the Four Directions from Moses Starr Jr., a spiritual leader of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes in Concho, Oklahoma. Starr said he was treated great at the event, and that it was his second time to get to do it.
Photo by Reid Williams
An honor song was performed, as well as an appearance from the Buddy Bond Color Guard, who are members the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes. Tribe Spokesman Bill Tall Bear spoke about the event and said, “It brings great attention to us. We want to go on and do the Thunder (Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Team).”
The Chickasaw Nation youth Choir performed the National Anthem, which was followed by the delivery of the drum mallet. The drum mallet was presented by Bill Thorpe, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist Jim Thorpe, to the Chiefs Drum Honoree Tony Gonzales.
Thorpe is of Sac and Fox decent, and said, “Being the son of Jim Thorpe, it’s nice to carry on his legacy, and have his name remembered. It’s a lot of fun for me to participate.”
With a crowd of 76,000+, many were exposed to Native American culture for the first time on Sunday. The event was a success, but is only one step in a process to educate. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma member and American Indian Community Working Group Liaison said, “This is an ongoing journey; and, we believe we are moving in a positive direction.”
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.