- By Brian Edwards
- Arts and Culture
The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe announced its second partnership with a Seattle-area pro sports team this year, inking a deal with Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners that's aimed at promoting youth baseball and celebrating the tribe's culture.
The partnership between the tribe and the MLB team includes hosting five baseball and softball camps in underserved areas, creating a new after-school program at the Muckleshoot Tribal School, and uplifting organizations that align with the Mariners Care Foundation's core areas of focus.
The premium seating behind home plate, which will be renamed the Muckleshoot Diamond Club at T-Mobile Park, has also been redesigned to incorporate tribal art and mural installations and tribal art, including hand-painted baseball bats utilizing Coast Salish design and hand-carved canoes and paddles that showcase the Tribe’s deep roots within the region.
During select homestands, fans will also be able to experience Tribal-inspired fare such as fry bread, burlap-steamed Manila clams and salmon cake sliders created by Muckleshoot Casino Executive Chef Andreas Hartmann and his culinary team.
The Mariners will also host Native American Heritage Night on Monday, Aug. 28 and the first 10,000 fans will receive a limited-edition Mariners jersey, designed by Native artists, that honors the heritage and culture of Indigenous Peoples across the Pacific Northwest.
“We are proud to partner with the Seattle Mariners to celebrate our culture and heritage,” Muckleshoot Tribal Chairman David Bean said in a statement. “This partnership is a way for us to share our story with a wider audience and to inspire young people to dream big.”
The tribe’s partnership with the Mariners is its second this year with a pro sports team in Seattle, which is north of the Muckleshoot reservation.
In February, the Muckleshoot Tribe announced a partnership with the Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League (NHL) team that began play in the 2021-22 season. Beginning this fall, the tribe's logo will be featured on the Kraken's jerseys, making the Muckleshoot the first Native American tribe to have its logo on a jersey in a major professional sports league.
“To be able to assert … our place and our identity within the city, within the region, with organizations like the Kraken, it’s hugely important and it’s hugely meaningful and really a powerful step for our tribe, for our people,” Muckleshoot Vice Chairman Donny Stevenson said at the time of the announcement.
The marketing alliance was an outgrowth of the relationship that the NHL team built with tribal leaders beginning with a summer 2019 listening session with 30 Indigenous leaders and tribal members. The tribe and the team also worked to commission Indigenous artists to create pieces for both Kraken Community Iceplex and Climate Pledge Arena. As well, a land-acknowledgement video plays before every home game.
As part of the partnership, a multi-sport court will be built on the reservation, and the Kraken will create programs to increase access for Indigenous youth.
The Muckleshoot also have a 10-year partnership with Seattle's NFL team, the Seahawks. That deal was first announced in 2019.