Buffalo Sabers host first-ever Native American Heritage Night in honor of the Seneca Nation

The Buffalo Sabers of the National Hockey League dedicate an evening to the Seneca Nation as part of the first-ever Native American Heritage Night Special Home Game sponsored by Seneca Resorts and Casinos.

Tonight marks the start of a new friendship between the Sabers and the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee, more commonly known as the Iroquois Confederacy.

It’s the first game night of its kind since the franchise was founded over half a century ago in 1970.

The Sabers will face the Metropolitan Division’s top team, the Washington Capitals, following an unreasonable 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in the nation’s capital on Friday, December 10.

The Washington Capitals suffered a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena before hitting the road for the Native American Heritage Night game in Buffalo, New York. (Gabriel Pietrorazio, FingerLakes1.com)

A member of the Snipe clan of the Seneca Nation, Carson Waterman, is a well-known Indigenous artist based in Salamanca, New York. He is the artist behind the design of the new Indigenous-inspired logo, resembling a unique feather headdress or gustoweh.

The Sabers hockey team wanted to honor Native American history. Waterman ended up with another opportunity to “strengthen who we are,” a passion he has pursued throughout his life.

“I am honored to work with the Buffalo Sabers,” said Waterman FingerLakes1.com. “It symbolizes the unity of our people, the Sabers and the city of Buffalo.”

He says it is “scary at times” to see the fracture of an increasingly divided socio-political stream across America. Working with the Sabers is a step in the right direction, setting an example for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

“It’s important to show that our people are still working together,” added Waterman.

This season’s team has signed a limited edition Waterman Sabers logo, ready to be auctioned off and the proceeds going to the Native Arts Collective.

Carson Waterman’s Native-inspired Buffalo Sabers logo is now available for presale on the One Buffalo website.

Fans can also buy long sleeve t-shirts the design of the Aboriginal artist; $ 5 from each sale will go directly to Native American Community Services of Erie & Niagara Counties, Inc.

Waterman is no stranger to creating sports logos, either.

In 1991 Waterman redesigned the “Brown Indian” logo for St. Bonaventure University, 30 years before Dave Kimelberg, a longtime friend and founder of K Art, a Buffalo-based commercial art gallery owned by of the Natives, did not ask him to design the Sabers. special game night design.

He was motivated to create a design “more appropriate to who we are” by correcting the old university mascot to more accurately represent the unique feathered headdress of the peoples of the Eastern Woods called gustoweh.

Looking back, Waterman attributes his vast collection of cultural knowledge to his tenure at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, an educational space that has steadily inspired and enriched his works of art for decades.

At one point, Waterman worked in their exhibits for 13 years, which allowed him to learn more about his heritage, which was not taught in school or elsewhere.

“Identity is so important today in understanding who you are, your history and your background,” said Waterman.

Obtaining the creative license to create an exclusive Sabers logo allowed him to represent himself and his Indigenous community by creating his own interpretation of a beloved sports franchise for a mainstream audience.

Waterman has already expressed his support for future Native American Heritage Nights at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, especially if the outing is successful.

The Sabers have donated more than 200 tickets to youth at the Seneca of Indians Nation (SNI) Cattaraugus Community Center and the Native American Community Service to attend tonight’s highly anticipated home game.

SNI Cattaraugus Community Center, which houses an ice rink open to the public on the reserve, has also partnered with the franchise to host the first-ever Native American “Learn to Play” hockey program run by an NHL team in the United States. .

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