Navajo Man to Perform at the Super Bowl

Navajo Man to Perform at the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of our favorite events, not to mention it is historically the most-watched program in the US with unparalleled hype. The entertainment is not just limited to the sport itself but goes beyond that – pregame ceremonies and halftime shows are fundamental elements of pop culture.

Indigenous people are represented in multiple ways at the 2023 Super Bowl.  An indigenous artist's work is featured on the tickets, and a Cherokee citizen is a ref.

We are already pumped for Rihanna’s halftime show performance for the 2023 Super Bowl, but the rest of the lineup is also quite thrilling. Eight-time Grammy winner, Chris Stapleton, will perform the national anthem before the game. He has also bagged 15 Country Music Association awards and 10 Academy of Country Music awards.

Then we have Babyface, who will be rocking “America the Beautiful” right before the kickoff. Collin Denny brought up in the Navajo Nation, will perform a combination of North American Indian Sign Language and American Sign Language with Babyface. Denny, a research associate at the University Of Arizona College Of Education, will be signing a song that boosts patriotism during the pregame show.

“I just want to empower and inspire those on their own,” Denny explained in sign language. He continued to say that he wanted such people to see that others are just like them and aren’t hopeless, lonely, or isolated. In a press release, Denny expressed his hope that the Super Bowl performance will increase awareness of North American Indian Sign Language.

This language is centuries old but still thriving. He is also working tirelessly to preserve the language through his work in the College of Education and believes that it deserves national recognition and revival for the community.

North American Indian Sign Language is a blanket term used to describe sign languages used by various Indigenous tribes for hundreds of years, classified by ten regional differences. Many of these regional sign languages went missing during colonization and when Indigenous children were forced to use American or English ASL in boarding schools.

What's New In Indian Country

Collin Denny was 5 when he started losing his hearing ability. When he turned 13, his parents started their search for certified ASL teachers or interpreters to accommodate his schooling needs in Arizona. While on a tour of the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Denny came across a whole community of deaf people using ASL. This significant encounter made him feel like he belonged to a community and was not isolated after all.

Denny attended the school till 2009, when he graduated, and then continued his Bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet till 2018. His coursework there forwarded him to classes on deaf studies and ASL, and he soon realized that teaching ASL was his chance to renew hope in his future students. It was also a way to continue his parents’ legacy, who had spent their careers teaching.

At present, Denny is doing his master’s degree in sign language education through Gallaudet. Moreover, he works as a remote ASL mentor. The Super Bowl pregame performance will be an excellent opportunity for Denny to promote his work by reaching a bigger audience.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Find a Pow Wow
Near you

What to expect
at your first Pow Wow

Sign Up for our Free E-newsletter