Special Olympics Athlete Honors His Native American Heritage at Games’ Opening Ceremony

By Jill Hammergren

July 2, 2018

Clifford Green, a Special Olympics athlete and Lummi Nation member, shared part of his cultural heritage at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony.

Using a drum that was recently gifted to him by a family member, the 22-year-old Green and dozens of Native Americans performed a Coast Salish American Drum Circle called 'Welcome, Bless and Celebrate Canoe Journey.' The Lummi People are the first inhabitants of Washington's northernmost coast and the southern part of British Columbia. 

"I'm not nervous. I am excited to be here,” said Green when asked about the performance. “I enjoy playing the drum and singing.”

Although, he's not competing in the USA Games, he is thrilled that the Games are in Seattle and will be cheering-on the other athletes.  

For the past 14 years, Green has regularly competed in track and field, soccer, softball, basketball, and bowling on both the regional and state level.  Green was part of the first Special Olympics Washington soccer team that travelled to Colorado and participated in a unified soccer match on a professional pitch.

He often spends his free time listening and watching Lummi and other tribal drumming that he finds on YouTube, saying "I love to drum. It makes me happy."

Clifford Green 2.jpg