Spirit Spotlight: Cherokee Greendeer

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When thinking of Green Bay Elite, the first word that comes to mind is family – family in the traditional cheerleading way, as the gym shares a tightknit bond, but also family in the truest sense of the word. Green Bay Elite was started by the Greendeer family, with Cherokee Greendeer at the helm. Through the love of the Greendeer family, their love of cheer, and the strength of their Native American Heritage, Green Bay Elite was born.

Prior to cheer, Cherokee was a competitive baton twirler. While she loved the thrill of competition, she felt something was missing, as competing individually, against her friends, wasn’t fun. In middle school, Cherokee was invited to try out for the cheer team and her love for cheerleading began!

Cherokee continued her journey in cheer throughout high school but after her fall semester in college she realized she really missed it. With her mom, Charlene, Cherokee visited local schools with the hopes of starting a cheer team. At the time, the ideas of levels in cheer didn’t exist, so with one full and a focus on stunting, Cherokee turned a group of 18 strangers into a team.

After the first year of competition, Cherokee’s father, George, realized she had something special going. He worked on a business plan while Cherokee and her mom worked with the tribally-owned bank to get a loan. Four years went by, and the bank returned to the Greendeer family, offering a tribally-funded business loan. From there, the current home of Green Bay Elite was built. The gym is located on the Oneida Indian reservation in Wisconsin, and Cherokee is proud to be the only Native American woman running a cheer gym on a reservation.

Cherokee’s heritage means everything to her. Her mom is Cherokee from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and her late father is Oneida/Ho-Chunk from Oneida, Wisconsin. Years ago, Cherokee’s grandparents started the Oneida Pow Wow. Celebrated during the 4th of July holiday, the Oneida Pow Wow brings the whole family together and allows the opportunity to visit, do traditional dances and enjoy other traditions. Growing up and learning both sides of her family’s history makes Cherokee want to be the best version of herself. “We are warriors and I bring that into everything I do. I am so honored to be Native American and from the Cherokee and Oneida Nation.”

This warrior mindset is prevalent in Green Bay Elite’s 22-year history. One of Cherokee’s favorite coaching memories is sitting in the NCA Arena for the first time, thinking to herself, “We will be here one day.” Fast-forward to a few years later and Cherokee’s team Jr. Lime took home the title of NCA All-Star National Champions!

With a strong coaching staff behind her, many of whom she coached through the program, Cherokee and Green Bay Elite continue to have a bright future ahead.[/vc_column_text]

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