Ojibwe Elder George Martin, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War, was part of a color guard on hand before yesterday's sold-out playoff game in Chicago between the Blackhawks and the LA Kings. Martin carried and presented the Eagle Staff during the singing of the U.S. National Anthem.
Martin, a Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe originally from the Whitefish community of the reservation in Wisconsin, is a well respected head male veteran dancer at pow wows throughout the Great Plains and Midwest areas.
The inclusion of American Indian veterans represented and presenting the Eagle Staff before nationally televised Blackhawk games has resulted from a partnership between the NHL club's Chicago Blackhawk Charities and the American Indian Center of Chicago. The effort is intended to promote goodwill within the American Indian Chicago community.
"As part of our partnership between the American Indian Center of Chicago, Trickster Art Gallery (Native Art Institute in Schaumburg) and the Chicago Blackhawks it is about educating more people about our culture," said Joseph Podlasek, LCO Ojibwe/Polish,Executive Director of the American Indian Center of Chicago. "Where better to start then with our veterans on national TV?"
In Chicago's last playoff series, versus the Detroit Red Wings, Marine veteran Barbara Whitehead O'Rourke had the honors.