2

Kyrie Irving finds new name and new family on North Dakota reservation

Kyrie Irving finds new name and new family on North Dakota reservation

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation stretches across the central Dakotas, a harsh and largely desolate landscape along a wide section of the Missouri River. It is not an easy place to live and not an easy place to get to.

But it is a sacred place for the Sioux, they’ve defended it for hundreds of years. It is the land of Sitting Bull. They defend it to this day, the most recent opponent being intruding and, the Sioux fervently believe, dangerous oil pipelines. And they defend their way of life, their Lakota traditions and language. This is not a place for empty gestures or for public-relations stunts. It is authentic as it gets, in charming and foreboding ways.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Kyrie Irving came to Standing Rock this week for the first time. He did not come for charity — he gave the tribe $100,000 a year ago — and he did not come for photo ops. The main event was sternly off limits to video or photography. He came to honor his mother and he came to understand his heritage.2

Irving didn’t know his mother, Elizabeth, well. His parents separated when he was very young and she moved across the country before she passed away when Irving was just 4 years old.

He has both mourned her and been inspired by her for much of his life. As he grew, sometimes he had to fill out paperwork that asked for her information. He’d get emotional sometimes having to leave it blank. When he got his signature shoe from Nike, the first model he wore had his mom’s name and the date 9-9-96, the day she died, stitched into them.

For the past few years, Irving has been searching for himself a little. It’s shown in some of his actions and some of his words. One of the most material ways was reaching and connecting to the Standing Rock Sioux, the tribe his mother was born into before she was adopted.

It reached a new depth when he was honored with a naming ceremony this week, a watershed moment in any Lakota’s life. He was given the name Little Mountain — “Hela” in the Lakota language — as part of his family tradition; his roots are from the White Mountain family of the South Dakota region of the reservation.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“There was a certain point in my life where I had come almost at a crossroads with my dad, my sister, my friends, my grandparents, and I had no idea kind of what direction to go into because I had lost the sense of a foundation,” Irving said. “Knowing my mom passed and left me such a powerful, empowering family such as Standing Rock … to be a part of it now, this is family for life.”

Irving completely embraced the experience, dressing in traditional clothing and taking part in a more than five-hour ceremony that included numerous speeches, drumming, chanting, praying and dancing.