The Kansas City Chiefs and the American Indian Community Working Group, in association with the American Indian Center of the Great Plains, will celebrate November as American Indian Heritage Month the week of Oct. 27. The week-long celebration will culminate with the team's American Indian Heritage Month game on Sunday, Nov. 2 when the Chiefs take on the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We are pleased to announce our alignment with the American Indian Community Working Group and details for American Indian Heritage Month this week," Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. "This represents the culmination of a number of positive discussions that focused on educating our fans and creating awareness of American Indian history and heritage within the Chiefs Kingdom."
The organization's celebration of American Indian Heritage Month begins on Tuesday, Oct. 28 as LB Derrick Johnson, QB Tyler Bray and RB Charcandrick West will join the Haskell Indian Health Center Diabetes Prevention Program to host a Play 60 activity at Sports Pavilion Lawrence at Rock Chalk Park. The group will lead approximately 50 American Indian youth from the community in hand-eye coordination, agility and speed drills, and will also share the importance of overall health and nutrition.
On Friday, Oct. 31, Chiefs Ambassadors, Chiefs Cheerleaders and Chiefs Red Coaters will lead a literacy outreach effort at the Kickapoo Nation School in Powhattan, Kansas. Team representatives will discuss the importance of quality literary skills. At the conclusion of the event, each child will be able to select an age-appropriate book from a table-top book fair.
"The partnership with the Chiefs has been an important opportunity to establish a dialogue that creates an awareness and understanding of who Native people are today," said Gena Timberman, member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and American Indian Community Working Group Liaison to the Chiefs. "This is an ongoing journey; and, we believe we are moving in a positive direction."
On Sunday, American Indian Heritage Month will be celebrated in a number of ways at Arrowhead Stadium. Outside of the stadium at Gate G, the American Indian Community Working Group will have a table in the Ford Fan Experience for cultural awareness.
Inside the stadium, there will be a number of blessings and special celebrations to honor American Indian heritage:
Blessing of the Four Directions
- Performed by Moses Starr Jr., a spiritual leader of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes from Concho, Okla.
- Tribal leaders from a number of tribes with a historical presence in the Chiefs Kingdom will participate and will be accompanied by tribal representatives carrying their tribal sovereign nation flags.
Drum Blessing Ceremony
- Representatives from the Native community will bless the Chiefs drum, which is used before each game at Arrowhead Stadium.
- To be performed in recognition of former Kansas City Mayor H. Roe Bartle, for whom the Chiefs are named.
American Indian Honor Color Guard
- The We-Ta-Se, American Legion 410 Honor Color Guard, who are members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, will present the colors for the day's game.
- Tabitha Fair, an Oklahoma native of Chickasaw descent, will perform the National Anthem along with the Chickasaw Nation Youth Choir.
Drum Mallet Delivery
- Spiritual leader Moses Starr Jr., joined by American Indian youth, will deliver the drum mallet to Chiefs Hall of Fame inductee and leader of the pregame drum ceremony, Priest Holmes.
Throughout the game, there will be additional educational information in-stadium over the public address system and ArrowVision to highlight American Indian Heritage Month. Information will also be available on the team's digital roster card on the Chiefs Mobile App.