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'I just want to be able to inspire': Navajo man will perform at Super Bowl pregame show

Colin Denny, who grew up on the Navajo Nation, will perform a mix of American Sign Language and North American Indian Sign Language at the Super Bowl in Glendale.

PHOENIX — A Navajo Nation man will be performing "America the Beautiful" in a mix of American Sign Language and North American Indian Sign Language at the upcoming Super Bowl. 

Colin Denny, a research assistant at the University of Arizona's College of Education, will take the stage at State Farm Stadium on Sunday alongside Babyface to perform the patriotic song during the pregame show.

"I just want to be able to inspire and empower those who are on their own to look around and see that there are other people out there who are just like them, and to not feel so isolated or lonely," Denny said, signing through an American Sign Language interpreter.

Credit: Lyle Begay

In a news release, Denny said he hopes his Super Bowl appearance will raise awareness of North American Indian Sign Language, a language he's helping to preserve through his work at UArizona.

Denny, 32, grew up in Pinon and his parents noticed he started to lose his hearing at the age of 5. He's currently working on a master's degree in sign language education and works as an ASL mentor from his home in the Navajo Nation.

During a recent press conference, Denny said he's honored to represent the Navajo, deaf, and hearing communities.

"All three of those communities I mentioned have three things in common: language, culture, and diversity. All these communities are still here and I'm so happy to be representing them," Denny said during the conference through an interpreter.

Denny is not the only Arizona man to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl.

Academy Award-winning actor Troy Kotsur, who grew up in the East Valley, will be performing the national anthem in American Sign Language.


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