Robert DesJarlait: Tribes come together for Minnesota NFL game

Indianz.Com on YouTube: RedBone Singers and Dancers at Minnesota Vikings Game

Robert DesJarlait, a member of the Red Lake Nation, performed with the RedBone Singers and Dancers for a Minnesota Vikings game during Native American Heritage Month. He offers a recap for Indian Country Today:
On game day, the temperature hovered at 25 degrees. When the exhibition began, the dancers were joined by the Lakota Women’s Warrior color guard that formed a line in front of the RedBone drum with their service flags held aloft.

Two groups of dancers lined up on opposite sides on the 50 yard line. The RedBone Singers sat at the 49 yard line on the Vikings side of the field. To the tempo of a grand entry song, each line danced out and formed a circle around the Vikings logo at the center of the field. RedBone did one pushup per song for each dance category that came out and performed a break dance. At the conclusion, the dancers danced off the field in one line to the rhythm of a retreat song.

Jerry Dearly served as the emcee. Dearly is a well-known powwow emcee and has appeared at powwows in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Dearly is from Pine Ridge and was one of the original Porcupine Singers.

Indianz.Com on YouTube: Rep. Peggy Flanagan Sings National Anthem at Minnesota Vikings game
In addition to the halftime exhibition, the pregame show featured a tribal flag presentation. Twenty-seven tribal flags from tribal nations in Minnesota and Wisconsin presented their tribal colors on the field.

Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D-FL) of the MN. House of Representatives sang the national anthem. Flanagan is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

The drum and dance exhibition at TCF stadium was a historic event. Although exhibitions have been featured at other professional Minnesota sports games, this was the first time such an exhibition was held at a Vikings game. Significantly, it was held in a sports venue known for its use of stereotypic logos and mascots. The Minnesota Vikings countered such imagery with a display that honored Native American culture.

Get the Story:
Robert DesJarlait: The Dance of Turtle Island: NFL's Vikings Honor Native Heritage Month (Indian Country Today 12/10)

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