In an emotional naming ceremony, Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was given the Lakota name Little Mountain by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe Thursday.
Wearing a traditional shirt with ribbons, Irving stood on a buffalo skin and was prayed over by a tribe elder, Vernon Iron Horse. As a drum group played and chanted, Irving was wrapped in a blanket, had an eagle feather tied into his hair along with a medicine ball made of porcupine quills, and had a beaded medallion placed over his head as his name was revealed to him.
Irving’s older sister, Asia, was also part of the ceremony and was given the Lakota name Buffalo Woman.
“Our journeys have been directed in so many different ways, but yet we are still standing here embracing each other as if we haven’t lost any time,” Irving said. “It’s really special for me to be here because I lost my mom at a very young age, and I had no idea about the history and how inclusive this group is and what it means to part of the Sioux tribe.”
Irving’s mother, Elizabeth Larson, was a descendant of the Standing Rock Sioux but was adopted out as a small child. Irving, whose mother died when he was 4, has known about his lineage and has recently starting embracing it publicly.
He stunned members of the tribe in 2016 when he said in an interview with ESPN that his mother was a member. That sent the elders scrambling to identify a lineage, and they found his grandparents and great-grandparents from the White Mountain family in the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota.
Irving supported the tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline two years ago and has had the tribe’s logo tattooed on the back of his neck. Earlier this year, he released a version of his Nike signature shoe that featured the logo as well. Last year, Irving made a six-figure donation to the tribe.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Brian Windhorst