Originally published January 24, 2021
Move over Lil Wayne. The Green Bay Packers have a new pump-up anthem, this one from the Oneida Nation, just down the road from Lambeau Field.
Kanataloloks Zacarias Skenandore, who teaches Iroquois music at the Oneida Nation Elementary School, wrote the lyrics which, except for a couple “Go Pack Go” lines, are in the Oneida language. The music comes from the new women’s shuffle dance, a dance performed at the twice-yearly gatherings of Iroquois people.
“It’s all about being uplifting,” Skenandore said of the traditional music, which sometimes also incorporates English. “The translation of this song, I’ve used our language in it, and it means ‘you can do it’ and to ‘keep it up.’. And then in that middle part, there’s a word that says ‘you will beat them.’ And then it just repeats that, ‘keep it up’ and ‘you can do it.’”
The song came from a bit of a challenge — one of Skenandore’s fellow teachers noticed a song some Seneca people in New York had recorded for their Buffalo Bills, who take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game tonight. The Seneca are part of the Iroquois Confederacy, as are the Oneida.
“One of the (Oneida Nation Elementary School) teachers tagged me in it and said, ‘Okay, where’s our Packer one?’ So that’s what started it,” Skenandore said.
The song, which Skenandore recorded with her daughter Yakatahawine and posted Friday night, has been shared over 150 times and viewed several thousand. (Update: when Madison365 posted the video, it was viewed nearly 100,000 times.)
“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and support, not only in our community, but also out in the community in Oneida Canada as well,” Skenandore said. “And I think pretty much throughout, I would say the Iroquois Confederacy, I think it’s been starting to be shared out there as well. Hopefully it gets out to the Senecas and they see.”
If the Packers win today, is another song coming?
“I would do another one if they win, yes,” Skendandore said with a laugh. “I think I’d have to.”
The Packers are 14-3 and host the NFC Championship Game today at 2 pm.
The Packers lost that game, ending their 2020 season. They are now 11-3 and play the Cleveland Browns at 3:30 today.