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Fort Lewis’ Joseph Goodfox Jr. dances at the Oscars

The Skyhawks’ long snapper was a part of the Osage singers and dancers
Fort Lewis football player Joseph Goodfox Jr. (front) walks on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 10 in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Regina Curry)

“It was just breathtaking.”

That was Fort Lewis football long snapper Joseph Goodfox Jr.’s reaction to performing at the Oscars on March 10 with other Osage Nation members. The Osage tribe was honored at the Oscars as the film “Killers of the Flower Moon” was up for numerous awards.

The film focuses on a series of murders of Osage members in Oklahoma in the 1920s after oil was discovered on the Osage Nation’s land.

Goodfox and the rest of the performers did a tribal dance that has been passed down from generation to generation that Goodfox and the rest of the performers have grown up doing.

The sophomore at Fort Lewis said in Oklahoma there are three districts that do these traditional dances. Goodfox is one of the drum keepers at one of these districts. Therefore, he and some other Osage members were invited to come out to perform at the Oscars in Los Angeles.

“It was a pretty crazy experience,” Goodfox said. “It was good for us to let other people know we're still doing this and we're still here. To show people what we do and what our lives are like.”

Goodfox said he left Durango on Wednesday, March 6 to get to Los Angeles. Once he got to Los Angeles, he and the rest of the performers had to prepare to get the dance’s timing right so everything would go smoothly on TV. On Sunday, March 10 at the Oscars, Goodfox performed on the red carpet and then during the broadcast as well.

“On TV, you just see it happen,” Goodfox said about the Oscars. “But when you're backstage and then you go into rehearsals, you just see what goes on and what it really takes to make it all happen for people to see the way they see it.”

After the performance, Goodfox said he was able to mingle with some of the stars of the film at the Oscars after-party like Leonardo DiCaprio, who had a key role in the film as Earnest Burkhart.

Fort Lewis football player Joseph Goodfox Jr. with Kirsten Dunst at the Oscars. (Courtesy Regina Curry)

Goodfox appreciated how the film showed what happened to his people and how it still affects some families to this day.

After the Oscars, Goodfox returned to Durango and Fort Lewis. He said his coaches and teachers were proud and impressed with Goodfox and his performance at the Oscars.

“It makes me so proud in a sense,” Goodfox said when asked about representing Fort Lewis. “It makes me happy and proud to just to be myself and just to be who I am, to do what I've been taught.”

Goodfox said he is excited for the upcoming football season. He was the team’s starting long snapper last season and thinks the team can improve with a lot of pieces returning from last year’s team.

“We definitely make a concerted effort to recruit Native American athletes to be part of our football team,” Fort Lewis head football coach Johnny Cox said. “We want to honor their traditions and make it an environment that they can really thrive in.”