January 19, 2008

Fans taunt Navajo athlete

Alabama State center Chief Kickingstallionsims wants to make big name for himselfKickingstallionsims, a Native American of Navajo heritage, said he knows he stands out because of his name and his size. He hears plenty of abuse from opposing teams' fans.

"They do so-called Indian chants or make other sounds," he said, "and call me names, but I don't let that affect me. I don't pay attention to it.

"I get my name from my dad, the Native American side of the family. People do ask me about it all the time, they question the origin of it and I just tell them what I know about it."

Chief is not a nickname, but is actually Kickingstallionsims' middle name. His first name, Grlenntya, means "strength of falling rock," he said.

"My middle name is after my grandpa," he said. "He always looked at me as a leader."

The 21-year-old Kickingstallionsims said he hasn't had any connection to the Navajo tribe. "Most people think, `You're Native American? They aren't in existence anymore,'" he said. "I'm just me."

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