'LAKOTA. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, my family.'

Kyrie and Asia Irving welcomed back to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Yesterday, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe welcomed Kyrie Irving and his sister, Asia, back into their community with a naming ceremony and celebration.

The Boston Celtics player has known about his familial connection to the White Mountain family of Standing rock. His mother, Elizabeth Anne Larson, was adopted out of the tribe as a child.

According to a news release, “Kyrie’s grandmother is the late, Meredith Marie Mountain, who is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Kyrie’s great-grandfather is Moses Mountain and great-grandmother is Edith Morisette-Mountain.”

In an Instagram post, Kyrie says, “LAKOTA. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, my family. I’m eternally grateful.”

As a National Basketball League all-star, Kyrie has supported the NoDAPL movement since it started.

He also worked with Nike N7 to design a shoe called “Kyrie 4” to honor his tribe. “I’m humbled that we were able to place Standing Rock’s tribal seal on this N7 shoe,” said Irving in Nike News. “I’m proud of my personal history, so to have this opportunity to represent my family as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is an incredible honor. Mom, this is for you. I love you so much.”

The Associated Press reports that Kyrie’s Lakota name is Hela which means “Little Mountain.” Asia’s given Lakota name is Tatanka Winyan, meaning “Buffalo Woman.” Their names tie to their White Mountain family.

However, Winona Flyearth on Facebook says otherwise.

“To a person who doesn't understand our culture and beliefs, Kyrie and Asia Irving have distant relatives on Standing Rock. You ask any person related to him on Standing Rock and their relationship to both of them is close. To me, they are my niece and nephew, not distant relatives. The main stream media does not understand this concept so it will be misportrayed in all the articles. Also their names will be misunderstood or at least Kyrie's name will be. His name does not mean little mountain, it means a mountain that was "dear" or close to the heart, a beloved place. It was the name of his great grandfather, Moses. It's how Kyrie and Asia will be known now on Standing Rock, by their Lakota names.”

Social media lit up when Irving’s announcement hit. There are a mix of reactions when it came to Irving’s news.

The news has impacted Native communities so much that Lyle Jacobs, fourth-grade teacher at Red Cloud Indian School, created a worksheet for his students on Irving and encourages Native teachers to download on TeachersPayTeachers.

Not only does the community show support but Chairman Faith of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe expressed his excitement in a release, “We could not be more excited, he has made us all very proud. To know that he has not forgotten his roots and is taking the time before he starts his basketball season to visit the People, his People, shows that Kyrie has great character and pride in his heritage.”

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. She is a citizen of the Diné Nation. Follow her on Twitter @jourdanbb. Email: jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com

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