ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — When the Minnesota Wild warmed up on the ice Friday, they traded their green for something blue: a special jersey to celebrate Minnesota’s Indigenous communities.
The gear was designed in honor of National American Heritage Day. The reimagined logo includes four tipis along the Mississippi River to represent Dakota homesteads on the shoreline, and they are adorned with Mni Sota Makoce, Minnesota’s name in Dakota language meaning “the land where the waters reflect the skies.”
“My ancestors would’ve never imagined this so to see these things and know what they represent for me and my people – it’s just amazing,” said Shelley Buck, tribal council president for the Prairie Island Indian Community.
Fans got a tee-shirt with the special logo and each player signed the first-of-its-kind jersey to be auctioned off. Every jersey is available to the highest bidder and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation.
“We’re going to really drill into providing indigenous children in Minnesota with health and well-being programming as well as growing the game,” said Rachel Schuldt, executive director of Minnesota Wild Foundation.
The auction will also have commemorative name plates from the locker room and hockey pucks with the logo. It runs from Friday through Dec. 6. As of Friday afternoon, the jerseys had “tons” of bids, Schuldt said.
But for Buck, the importance of the jerseys transcends just raising money for good cause. She said it spotlights the story of Indigenous communities.
“It’s important for people to know that history and you can’t have Minnesota history without starting with Dakota history,” she said.