November is National Native American Heritage month. Wingstop is proud to celebrate its diverse team members, acknowledging that every story is important and deserves to be shared, understood, and celebrated. Read on to learn more about one of our Native American team members, Michelle Grote, and the Cherokee people.
Tell us a little bit about your background:
I am a registered Native American with the Cherokee Tribe (Cherokee Nation). My mother along with her 15 brothers and sisters were raised on a farm in Topeka, Kansas. My mother’s great grandfather was full blooded Cherokee and grew up in northeastern Oklahoma where many of my cousins continue to reside now.
What does being Native American mean to you?
When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate my Indian heritage until my parents divorced when I was 18. My mother quickly turned to her family for support and that is when I began to learn and understand everything there was to know about my heritage. Now, I am very proud to be Cherokee!
What are some of your favorite childhood memories?
Every year, my mom’s family would gather in Vinita, Oklahoma for our family reunion. Cousin Bud (the nephew of my mom’s father) would always arrange an amazing show for all of us which included a Pow Wow, snake show, and of course lots of food! The family reunions would not be the same after Bud passed away in 2003. He was an organ donor and during the Rose Parade in 2004, he was recognized on the “Donate Life” float. We were all so proud and honored. He was also honored during the Oklahoma Centennial celebration.