Savvy Simon featured.jpg


Jan 5, 2017

Motivational Speaker featured at halftime of Native American Night

(January 5, 2017)… There will be a lot of positive energy in The Blue Cross Arena Saturday night as the Rochester Knighthawks celebrate their annual Native American Night. Not only will they honor the last surviving WWII Akwesasne Mohawk Code Talker, Louis Levi Oakes, but the fans will get to meet one of Canada’s most influential Indigenous motivational speakers, “Savvy” Savannah Simon.

Known for her love for life and bountiful energy, she will share her message during a special halftime presentation. Fans will be introduced to someone who has prayed on a beach with Pope Francis, advocated for sobriety for Aboriginal youth, founded a campaign to save her traditional Mi'kmaq language, and danced at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. On Saturday, she will experience another first as she attends her inaugural National Lacrosse League game.

“I am so pumped to attend my first Knighthawks game in Rochester, NY, this Saturday,” she said. “We are celebrating being Native, honoring our ancestors and celebrating who we are today. We are headed in an awesome direction and I am so blessed to be part of this generation. I am surrounded by so many ambitious people. Whether you are Native or non-Native, this is going to be an awesome, positive time.”

“Savvy” gave a preview of her performance, which will follow the Fancy Dancers. “I will be speaking at the halftime show and spreading some motivation and love,” said Simon. “We are going to blaze up the building with so much heat and warmth that we’re not going to realize it’s winter outside.”

What she will witness Saturday is an East Division showdown between the Knighthawks and the New England Black Wolves on Native American Night. On Saturday, lacrosse fans in Rochester will have the opportunity to learn more about the origin of the game and experience Native American Culture.

“Native American Night recognizes the contributions of the Native American heritage to the game of lacrosse,” said Knighthawks alternate governor Gewas Schindler, who hails from Onondaga. “The Native American Haudenosaunee are widely known as the originators of the game of lacrosse and call it the Creator’s Game. The professional indoor lacrosse game is rooted within the traditional Haudenosaunee lacrosse game.

“The enjoyment of watching a lacrosse games bridges lacrosse fans from various cultures and age groups in the Greater Rochester lacrosse community. I am grateful to the Rochester Knighthawks, the NLL, and other NLL teams for this recognition every year.”

It’s fitting that the Knighthawks are hosting the New England Black Wolves on a night honoring the roots of the game. The NLL contest features two teams with Native American owners. Styres, who is a Mohawk from Six Nations, has owned and operated the Rochester franchise since June of 2008, while the New England Black Wolves were founded in 2014 by the Mohegan Tribe.

The teams also have a combined 12 Native American players, with Rochester having the most with eight. The players include Angus Goodleaf (Kahnawake), Kyle Jackson (Aamjiwnaang First Nations) and Six Nations stars Cody Jamieson, Sid Smith, Wayne Van Every, Torrey VanEvery, Quinn Powless, and Adam Bomberry.

For Knighthawk Wayne Van Every, having the chance to play Saturday night has more meaning than a typical regular season game.

“It's an honor being able to play the game dedicated to the Native American people and this experience will be one I will remember for years to come,” said Van Every. “Lacrosse has always been a huge part of my life and has given me so many awesome opportunities, the biggest one being playing in the NLL for the Knighthawks. It's a dream come true."

After the game be on the lookout for “Savvy,” as she has promised to give everyone free hugs and selfies.

“That’s just who I am and what I have to offer,” said Simon. “I am so thrilled to meet everybody and see what Rochester has to offer.”

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