Native Seahawks Fans Celebrate NFC Champs' Win
The Seattle Seahawks squawked to victory last night taking the NFC Championship title from the San Francisco 49ers, besting them 23-17 and moving on to face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2.
A record crowd of nearly 70,000 in CenturyLink Field watched on the edge of their bleacher seats as Seattle rallied in the late win. The top-ranked defense forced three fourth-quarter turnovers, and Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to win the game. It will be the team’s first trip to the big game since they lost to Pittsburgh in 2005.
Celebrations quickly spread through Seattle and elated fans took their Seahawks pride to the streets and on social media.
Fans like Myrna Gardner, Tlingit, and Debra Guerrero, from the Haida Tribe, flew from Alaska to Seattle for the game. They were cloaked in Seahawks fan gear and celebrated the team’s victory, 12th Woman style.
“Like so many Alaskan Natives, I flew down from Alaska to represent Alaska's 12th Man & Woman,” Gardner said to ICTMN. “My love began when I was born. My whole family watched the Seahawks, I recall Steve Largent's poster on the walls in the hallway at my parent's house.”
Seattle artist Jacob Lucas carved a 6-foot tall Seahawk statute to honor 12th Man pride and paraded his work around Seattle in his pickup truck before the playoff game. It took him three weeks to etch the six-foot tall sculpture -- a Seahawk head and ornate carvings of feathers and moccasins etched with a “12” and the space needle on the belt buckle.-- from two cedar logs, said King5 News.
“I like it because it reflects back to our Native American heritage around here,” Rebecka Shea told the news station about the carving. “It’s something we’re really proud of in this city.”
“Being at the game, experiencing the power of the ‘12th Man’ was a Bucket list event,” Gardner said. “Representing Heinyaa Kwaan, ‘the water people from across the bay’ was an honor. [I was] Screaming from the top of my lungs, waving my towel, cheering so hard to ‘will’ a win.”
Jeremiah Abramson, a Seahawks fan since birth, repped Seattle by sporting gameday gear in a photo collage. And Utahna Brown, Dine, from Shiprock, New Mexico, couldn’t resist taking a photo in her car, “I’ve been a lifelong Seahawks fan,” Brown said.
And members of the Lummi Nation shared this Facebook message. “SuperBowl Bound!!!! Northwest Washington fans are Loud and Proud!!!!” And a photo of “Blue Friday” – Lummi Nation employees sported Seahawk jerseys, and held up signs with the number 12 (for 12th Man) next to the Seahawks logo - two days before Sunday’s matchup.
Tulalip Council Treasurer Chuck James has been a season ticket holder for the Seahawks for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Illene, attended Sunday’s game and reflected on their long and close relationships with the team since 1976.
“Sports have always been an important part of our lives growing up in Tulalip; we played basketball and others sports, and so did our friends and families. Even Illene played football as a girl, so it was natural for us to be Seahawks fans. There are many lessons learned through sports that also apply to business: teamwork, discipline, training and fair competition.”
James was a vice-president at Bethlehem Steel when the Nordstrom family wanted to build the original Kingdome that housed the Seahawks. Using new technology, Bethlehem Steel created special steel rods used to construct the dome, and Chuck and Illene, now married 52 years, were there when the new stadium opened in 1976.
“We were especially close to the team in their first 15 years, and traveled on the team plane to New York, Kansas City and San Diego for games,” he said. “We got seats next to the tunnel entrance so our children could see all the great football players, and took our family to their training camps in Spokane where we got to know the players and coaches.”
“The Seahawks have always been a big part of our lives here on the reservation and they’ve inspired our young people to want to compete and win. We like the spirit of competition for excellence. If you go to the Tulalip Tribes administration building before a game, you’ll see the excitement with everyone wearing Seahawks gear and showing pride. We even have tribal members who design Seahawks gear that is sold in our casino resort gift shop,” he said.
The Tulalip Tribes recently opened The Draft, a new sports bar at their casino featuring a dramatic 161x 91 wall matrix of HDTVs that puts customers in the middle of the world’s top sporting events. They’ll be hosting a Super Bowl party in anticipation of a Seahawks win, and James is inviting everyone to attend.
“Win or lose, the Seahawks are our team and we’ll be there to support them,” James said.
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