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Vikings Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

The Vikings were pleased to celebrate vibrant and honorable Native American culture during Sunday's game in observance of November's designation as Native American Heritage Month.

The Vikings were pleased to celebrate vibrant and honorable Native American culture during Sunday's game in observance of November's designation as Native American Heritage Month.

The observance included the presentation of color guard by the Lakota Women Warriors, the singing of the National Anthem by Peggy Flanagan and a halftime performance of different dance styles by the Red Bone Singers and Dance Troupe.

Matt Thornhill and Jessica Ryan worked with Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley and Entertainment & Youth Programs Manager Brett Taber on the celebration.

"We wanted to think of a way that would really showcase some of the beautiful parts of our culture," Thornhill said. "One part of our culture is pow-wows. Part of our cultural belief is that drum has a spirit."

Thornhill made the drum, but said "it doesn't belong to me."

"It belongs to the people. It was a spiritual gift to all people and is there to help people pray, bring people together, to help people's spirits," Thornhill said. "Bringing that to our Vikings family, 52,000 people, we just felt was important."

Thornhill said each dancer made or assembled his or her regalia unique to each dance.

"It's something that represents them as a person, maybe their clan, colors that are important to them, maybe it represents a dream they had, but their regalia, often we use spiritual items with it," Thornhill said.

There were 6 primary dance styles showcased:

Men's Traditional

Robert Desjarlait

Chaske LaBlanc

Warren LittleJohn

Tayan Benson

Women's Traditional

Leyah Hale

Ashley Rave

Lisa Goodbear

Grass Dancer

Zack RedBear

M. Desjarlait

Rafa Day

Jingle Dress

Athena Cloud

Doozie Little John

Angie Thornhill

Jenny Kappeman

Men's Fancy Feather

Eric Sheperd

Darrell Hill

Jaramiah HolyBull

Women's Fancy Shawl

Amber Cleveland

Anntaya Corbesia

Rosemma Lafferty

Marie Armstrong 

Singers

Keya Pipeboy

Jacob LittleJohn

Abe Benson

Matt Thornhill

Spank White

Miziway Desjarlait

Cetan Benson

Dale LittleJohn

Randy Greczyk

Carlos Day

Nate Clingerman

Thornhill said Jerry Dearly, who is well-respected, served as emcee of the performance, and every performer appreciated the opportunity to share part of their culture.

"When we can all come together and can all see our similarities and know each other better, that's awesome, and it teaches our kids a good lesson and helps us all get along better," Thornhill said. "As far as all of us huge Vikings fans, to be able to come out, share our culture, share what we're good at with fellow Minnesota Vikings fans was a dream come true."

Color Guard

The Lakota Women Warriors presented the color guard during the National Anthem.

The Lakota Women Warriors are all Native American Veterans made up of those who served honorably and those currently on active duty.  They are united from the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota bands of the Sioux Tribe.  Their mission is to continue their service by staying active in our communities.

Members of the color guard: 

Brenda White Bull, Marine Corps (retired), Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Kella With Horn, Army, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Danielle Decoteau, Navy, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Bonnie McGhee St. John, Army, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

Shenandoah Ellis Ulmer, Air Force (active duty), Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate 

Learn more about these honorable women and others at lakotawomenwarriors.org.

National Anthem

Peggy Flanagan, a citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, delivered the beautiful performance of the National Anthem.

Flanagan is a nationally recognized expert in nonpartisan voter mobilization and civic engagement, especially with Native Americans and communities of color.

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