Cronkite News: Football team honors Gila River Indian community with special jersey


On the chest, a calendar staff and a warrior’s club signify a new era with the Rising and Gila River Indian community, as well as the protection of the people. Photo courtesy of Ashley Orellana/Phoenix Rising

Rising to the cause: Team honors O’odham community with unique shirts

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

By Miles Aronson

Cronkite News

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Representing history, culture and community in one jersey couldn’t be more unique. Making all proceeds from the sale of this jersey go to support the Native American families and children who have been displaced is even more special. Before the Phoenix Rising recorded their second straight shutout by eliminating the Oakland Roots 1-0 on Saturday night at Wild Horse Pass, the team warmed up in fashion by wearing T-shirts designed to pay tribute to the O people. ‘odham and to the land on which the stadium stands. Jaime Jackson, a graphic designer from the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and Phoenix Rising supporter, helped create the poignant jerseys the team will wear during the warm-up in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day. “This is my first time working with Phoenix Rising,” Jackson said. “I loved the idea of ​​taking the opportunity to participate and do what I could for the community and for the organization.” The jersey is the center of many things, including an outlet for the GRIC message as well as a way to give back to the community by donating all profits from the jersey to Three Precious Miracles, a non-profit organization that helps to provide support and care for the families of displaced Native American children. “I’ve worked with them before,” Jackson said. “This is a great organization that has been in the community for some time, and that’s something I can support. Jackson also said he has a great relationship with Elisia Manuel, president and founder of Three Precious Miracles, and once helped her design the nonprofit’s logo. Manuel has created his own family as well as a family within his non-profit organization. She has come a long way with her organization and this collaboration with Jackson and the Rising will only help the nonprofit grow. “We are extremely happy and grateful that the proceeds from the shirts will be donated to our organization,” said Manuel. “This will help provide cultural experiences for Native and Native American children, to help them stay connected to their culture.” The non-profit organization provides basic resources for children, as well as support for foster and related families through navigation and systems engagement. “I also had the experience of going through family care,” Manuel said. “It’s really important to me to continue to support children when their parents are unavailable… All with the ultimate goal of reuniting with their children.” For GRIC and nonprofit members, their help has truly impacted Arizona and the rest of their communities. “It has been such an honor to have the opportunity to impact my community, cultivate identity and provide the resources necessary for our children to succeed in school and become great future leaders,” said said Jennifer Villalobas, an impact volunteer and board member of Three Precious. Miracles, said on the company’s website. During the Rising’s nailbiter against Oakland on Saturday, many fans walked around the stadium and cheered on the team while wearing their new Phoenix Rising Indigenous Day warm-up jerseys. “This whole process has just been a really amazing time,” Jackson said. “It was a really good thing and I love how the shirts came out.” All jerseys feature the #7 on the back to support and represent the seven different districts of the Gila River Indian Community. Also featured on the bottom half of the jersey are modernized river waves because water is such an important factor in the community. “There’s also a calendar stick and a warriors club that comes in an X on the chest of the jersey,” Jackson said. “The calendar stick marks the occasion of Phoenix Rising coming to Gila River and the warriors club represents the team’s presence on the pitch. “I think the idea of ​​a jersey design was really cool . The Phoenix Rising did a great job of pitching the idea and making it possible.

Phoenix Rising - Indigenous Peoples Day

All Phoenix Rising Indigenous Peoples Day jerseys feature the #7 on the back to support and represent the seven different districts of the Gila River Indian Community. Also featured on the lower half of the jersey are modernized river waves, as water is such an important factor for the tribe. Photo courtesy of Ashley Orellana/Phoenix Rising
Seeing the Phoenix Rising honor the Indigenous community is special for many reasons. “It’s really cool that we’re reaching out not just to foster kids, but to Indigenous people as a whole,” Manuel said. “It’s just a huge honor to be a part of it in every way possible.”

For more Cronkite News stories, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.


Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published under a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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