SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate is back with its partnership with the Sioux Falls Skyforce after a hiatus during the pandemic. This means the return of special jerseys for the team created by the tribal youth.
It all started at a Skyforce match in 2015, when the kids from Sisseton saw the Skyforce jerseys and wanted to make one.
“One of the old sales people came up to me and I said, ‘Hey, can we make jerseys?’ And he was like yeah, and I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got some designs that we’re going to throw at you.’ Once we got that first one in place, it just kind of took off,” said SWO Youth Director Derrick McCauley.
This is the 5th year the tribe has partnered with Skyforce to help bring Native American culture to the public eye. This year’s youth design is a “Battle Horse” design.
“At the time, our ancestors painted their horses before going into battle. So we thought we’d equip the Skyforce with its own kind of in-game ‘Battle Horse’,” McCauley said.
The various symbols on the jerseys represent parts of Native American culture. The arrows represent victory, the stripes are for the number of war horses. The circle represents the circle around the horse’s eye, to heighten the senses and see danger. The zigzag patterns show a symbol of speed and strength, with the handprint in the middle binding the jersey together.
“As you see, the hand itself is like a vow of revenge. I know Spurs got us the last game, but hopefully we get them this game. McCauley said.
For Skyforce, it’s a great way to connect with the community while helping to promote the efforts of young Sisseton and their tribe.
“It helps us learn more about Native American culture in this state. As South Dakotans, we have a rich Native American culture and we’re just happy to showcase it for them. said Skyforce President Mike Heineman.
McCauley said the jerseys help inspire their youth and others in the state to not only strive to do well in athletics, but also help their creativity.
“Hopefully tonight when we equip them we prepare the ‘workhorse’ so they can bring us victory.” McCauley said.
Each player’s shirt along with a few others was auctioned off online, with all proceeds going to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.
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