Staff members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Cultural Resources Department (CRD) and the Community Development Department (CDD) visited the Colorado Rockies at their clubhouse at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on the evening of February 28 for some cultural-awareness training. The players has just wrapped up a spring training game and sat down for the presentation before heading home.
Community members Kelly Washington, director of the CRD, and manager Shane Anton took turns sharing information about the Community’s two tribes.
Topics included how the tribes are similar and different from each other, their history, and how the Community was established. They explained the terms “reservation” and “community” as they relate to Indian tribes and which one is preferred when discussing Salt River. The Rockies also learned the differences between all the southern sister tribes, as well as tribal ancestry, mainstream names, and Native American home styles like teepees and roundhouses.
Esther Moyah and Juan Nieto of CDD went over the economic-development projects in the Community, including the Talking Stick Cultural Entertainment District.
“The presentation was requested by the Rockies organization,” said Washington. “I presented to some of the Rockies leadership when [Salt River Fields] was being planned, including the late Rockies president, Keli McGregor. They were very receptive to it and wanted the rest of their organization to [understand more about the Community].”
The Colorado Rockies organization has expressed that they value this cultural knowledge and want to be respectful to the Community that has provided them with the best spring-training facility they have ever seen. The Rockies clubhouse was filled, with more than 60 interested players and staff in attendance.
“I have certainly appreciated how much respect they have shown us and how eager they are to learn and make sure their organization is knowledgeable about the Community,” said Washington. “On our end, we consider it important to share the story of our people with others to foster an awareness and appreciation for the history of the O’odham and Piipaash. Our history is an important component of the Valley’s history, yet it is not well known by the majority of the population. We want to communicate that our development is important to the economic strength and perpetuation of our tribal nation.”
This was the second time that the Rockies organization received cultural-awareness training from the Community. After the presentation, the players went through some impromptu questions and answers on facts about the Community to win prizes. Every time the presenters asked a question, many hands went up to answer.
“We thought the training went well, and we were very glad to do it. It’s our tradition to always share with visitors, and the Colorado Rockies are an important part of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. It also builds a positive relationship between them and the Community,” said Anton.
“It is not simply ‘business’; as original inhabitants of this land, we want to promote an appreciation and respect for the land itself to those who have also come to live here permanently and those who are visiting for a short time,” said Washington.