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NFL acknowledges Native lands, tribal representation

Native American representation has been front and center of Super Bowl LVII.

PHOENIX — Ty Lodgepole's grandma doesn't know who the Black Eyed Peas are. 

She knows her grandson performed with them, but that doesn't mean as much if you don't know the band. 

But you better believe she knows what the Super Bowl is. 

"Once I mentioned the Super Bowl," Lodgepole said. "You know, the Super Bowl has been going on forever, and it's such a big event."

So when Lodgepole told her that he and the dance group Indigenous Enterprise were performing for Super Bowl Opening Night, broadcast live around the world, she knew exactly how big that was. 

"People from London, from Australia, people from all over the world were watching," Kenneth Shirley said. 

Opening Night was a new event for the NFL. It took the old Media Day event, with its player and coach interviews, and combined it with a live broadcast. The opening act that the world saw first was Indigenous Enterprise.

The group formed eight years ago as a collective of Native American dancers, each performing a dance from their tribe. They have members from across North and South America. 

Super Bowl LVII has put Native Americans front and center. An Indigenous artist did the artwork in downtown Phoenix. The logos reference Native American designs. And, for the first time, the NFL acknowledged that the land where the game will be played once belonged to Native Americans. 

"It's super long overdue that an organization like the NFL is getting proper acknowledgment like that," Lodgepole said. 

And Indigenous Enterprise was perhaps the most visible part of that. 

For the dancers, it allowed them to show other Native Americans what's possible. 

"It felt good to be able to let people know this is on a global scale," Shirley said. "Native American people are still here, and we're still proud to be carrying on our culture."

Indigenous Enterprise will also perform outside State Farm Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. 

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