As Elon football wraps up the regular season Nov. 18, one athlete is taking the month to celebrate his heritage on the field.
For football fifth-year senior Chandler Brayboy, the month of November means much more than just the end of the regular season. Brayboy, a North Carolina native, celebrates Native American Heritage Month as a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe located in the Pembroke area.
“A lot of folks dont know that. We’re still around. I’ve heard that a few times. It’s kind of shocking, but just that awareness that we’re still here, we’re still thriving,” Brayboy said. “I think that's a good thing and just appreciating that.”
As a kid, Brayboy was exposed to many activities in the tribe, including dancing and drumming, but decided that football was the route he wanted to run with.
“I played three sports, I had to pick between dancing and then playing a sport. So I chose a sport and I think it did me OK," Brayboy said.
Brayboy said everything he knows about his heritage and culture is from his mother. He said he is grateful to her for raising him and his brother as they did not have a father figure in most of their life.
“My mom is my role model, that's my life right there,” Brayboy said. “I don't think I'd be here without her.”
Head coach Tony Trisciani said Brayboy's background helps create a diverse locker room.
“I mean, that’s the beauty of a football team right? The diversity of the backgrounds and heritage. … Chandler is a little more unique than some of the other guys,” Trisciani said.
Brayboy said he enjoys spreading awareness about his background to his teammates and coaches as well as teaching them all sorts of different practices within the tribe.
“The group of guys we have in the locker room — it’s just a variety of all types of walks of life and just being a native american, only one from the tribe — Lumbee — it’s pretty nice. Get to educate them about your tribe a little bit," Brayboy said.
On the field, Brayboy said he looks to lead the team to get a home win Nov. 18 after falling to Richmond 38-24 on Nov. 11. Brayboy said he is happy to be a part of a wide receiver group that has been great for several years now.
“Just knowing that we can kind of follow in their tracks was pretty nice,” Brayboy said. “They laid the foundation, and then it's just me and Jordan Bonners job to try to raise the ceiling on it.”
Brayboy is preparing to graduate this year and is looking toward what the future holds. He is a part of the nursing program and said being a first responder in an ambulance and football have several similarities.
“Working in that field, it's kind of like football, man, it's a sort of drilling rush. It is once you get that call, you got to go,” Brayboy said. “You got to do your job, and you got to stick with it and handle it the best you can. You can't give it off to nobody else, you got to stand on your business and handle it.”