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History of Native American-

Sport Team Partnerships

Partnerships between Native American tribes and sports teams have become increasingly commonplace in recent years. In 2006, the Spokane Indians minor league baseball team and the Spokane Tribe of Indians made history by collaborating on a re-branding of the team's logo, becoming the first pairing of a team and tribe to respectfully agree on the use of local imagery. According to the chairman of the Spokane Tribe, "we view this collaborating as a significant opportunity to EDUCATE thousands of baseball fans about the language and culture of the Spokane Tribe of Indians-- the city's first inhabitants." 

At the professional ranks, the Kansas City Chiefs have hosted on field honoring ceremonies with several regional tribes since 2014. In 2019 the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians entered into a partnership with Allegiant Stadium and the Las Vegas Raiders NFL franchise. Also in 2019, the Seattle Seahawks entered into a 10-year partnership with the  Muckleshoot Tribe with a focus on EDUCATION, elder health, and youth leadership development initiatives. The Muckleshoot Tribe also entered into a partnership with NHL Seattle in 2019.

At the collegiate level, a handful of Native themed universities were given exemptions by the NCAA in 2005 to maintain their Native identities as a result of gaining the support of a namesake tribe; among them are Florida State with the Seminole Tribe, Central Michigan with the Chippewa Tribe, Mississippi College with the Choctaw Tribe, and Utah with the Northern Ute Tribe.


Native themed public schools have also gotten in on the trend of establishing tribal partnerships; prominent among them is the Strasburg, Colorado Indians with the Northern Arapahoe Tribe. A member of the tribe commented in 2018, "our young kids have lots to share with the kids of Strasburg." The El Reno, Oklahoma Indians and the Cheyenne Arapahoe Tribe formed an education-based partnership in 2017. Four school districts in Oregon with Native themed athletic teams came to an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in 2017. The agreement includes tribal school involvement and curriculum development on the tribe's history and language. The goal is to foster respect and understanding of Native American culture. 

In addition to these official agreements and partnerships, many sports teams with and without Native themes have hosted cultural celebrations on their athletic stages to promote Native American Heritage.

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