Honoring Native American Heritage: Doug Rumbo of Mavs Proud of His Roots in the Choctaw Nation


Doug Rumbo: I’m the Dallas Mavericks Facility Administrator and my job is to make sure everyone in the office has a comfortable and safe working environment, which means maintaining the facility. Every day is different. Maintaining facilities means making sure everything is working properly, from plumbing to electrical issues and everything in between. If there are any issues that need to be resolved, or if anything arises, I’m here to help. Every day is new and my job is anything but typical. I’m here to help with problems and help anyone who needs help!

Mavs.com: Have you always wanted to work in professional sports and what is your unique story about how you got this job? What inspires you to work for the Mavericks?

Doug: I always wanted to work in sport but I didn’t know in what capacity. My brother-in-law actually works for the Mavericks. His name is Adam Wermuth. One day he texted me asking if I was interested in working for the commodity. My job was to count and label the shirts, package them and deliver them to the AAC for putting them in stores. I did this for about four years and the install administrator position opened up. I applied and got the job!

What inspires me about working for the Mavs is that I grew up as a huge fan of the Mavs and the environment and the people are awesome. It’s very family-friendly and I wouldn’t want to work elsewhere.

Mavs.com: We wouldn’t want you anywhere else either! Now on to your life, can you tell us more about your ancestors and the rich culture of your family?

Doug: I am a member of the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Band; Mississippi is the homeland of the Choctaws. I am 50% Choctaw. My mother, Linda Rumbo, is pure blood. She raised me and my three sisters on my own after my father died in a car accident in 1993.

The Choctaws were the first tribe to walk the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma in 1831 and experienced untold horrors and deaths (2,500 deaths) along the way. Some decided to stay and endured unspeakable tragedy into modern times when the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Band was formed in 1945. The Choctaws have a sacred mound in Mississippi named Nanih Waiya which is approximately 2000 years old.

Mavs.com: You mentioned your mom Linda. Can you tell more about her?

Doug: My mom grew up in Ripley, Tennessee. Her family moved from Mississippi to Tennessee when she was little. Here’s a fun fact: She failed first grade because she didn’t learn English until she was 7! You wouldn’t be able to say it now because his English is so perfect. She still speaks fluently with her siblings and cousins ​​in Choctaw.

Fast forward many years. A few of her sisters decided to move away after they got older. They finally settled in Oak Cliff in the 1970s. My mother was probably in her twenties. She met a man and had my older sister Ivette, but that relationship was full of domestic violence. She later met my father. He was a printer and my mother helped him assemble books after printing them. My dad later adopted Ivette and the rest of us were born three years apart. I was born in 1988 and in 1993 my parents were involved in a car crash off I-20 and I-45.

My father was driving and they hit a lamppost next to him. He died instantly and she flew to the back seat. My mother then had to raise the four of us on her own and never remarried. She’s a damn strong woman who’s been through a lot. To be honest, she’s my inspiration for all of this, she taught me a lot of things a man would teach a boy because she grew up working hard in the fields. She even hit me with flies and balls on the ground in the garden (laughs). I always visit her and make sure she is well as often as possible, and she always goes out and does some yard work. You name her and she can do it. I wouldn’t have this job if I hadn’t learned from her growing up and just by trial and error.

Mavs.com: What an amazing woman! How is her life today?

Doug: My parents built a house in Arlington in 1981. My mom still lives there, but the area has changed a lot since then. It is near the Parks shopping center. She loves her children and grandchildren.

Mavs.com: How was your father?

Doug: His name was Michael Rumbo. They were going to call me Michael Jr., but my dad insisted that I be my own person and have my own name. So my mother named me Douglas in honor of her elementary school principal (laughs). But that’s just the kind of guy my dad was. You don’t follow in nobody’s footsteps, make your own way. It’s a strange story, but the night it happened… I begged and cried that they wouldn’t go away. I was only 5 years old, but my mom said I was screaming, “You won’t be coming back! It’s not hard for me to talk about it, it used to be, but I know he’s proud. Life is a big speed bump. I tell others in similar situations to take their time in grieving. Wherever you want to go, you will.

Mavs.com: What does Native American Heritage Month mean to you? What would you like more people to know about Indigenous peoples?

Doug: Native American Heritage Month to me means raising Native American awareness to show and help educate people about the past and current state of Native people. I wish more people would know that we are still here and that we are like everyone else. We have our traditions, but we have also adapted to today’s society. Just know that we are like everyone else, in fact 70% of Native Americans live in urban areas, often we get confused with another race but in reality we are like everyone else. We eat the same foods, play the same sports, wear the same clothes, etc.

Mavs.com: Over the years, the company has used the words “Native Americans” and “Indigenous” more, but I have read that many tribal communities still take pride in and relate to the word Indian. Where are you ?

Doug: I have no problem with Indians, and neither do any of my family. We often use this word to refer to ourselves. It’s just something over the years that’s been adopted and accepted. So yes, we are proud of the Indian word.

Mavs.com: How do you think we, as a group of people, can do a better job of loving, supporting, and uplifting Native Americans, Indians, and Indigenous peoples?

Doug: I just think I have more room at the table when it comes to politics. When I say politics, I mean having more say in environmental matters, such as cutting down trees and cutting down pipelines. If everything becomes concrete, we are doomed. I am a self-proclaimed tree flayer; I hate to see the massacre of Mother Earth for her entertainment.

Mavs.com: Did you have any fun, interesting, or remarkable traditions that you have or had while growing up?

Doug: I grew up in Arlington, so we didn’t have a lot of traditions on a daily basis, but my mom would cook the traditional dishes. When I visited family in Tennessee, we played a sport called stickball with my cousins. It is a very old sport which was once used to settle conflicts, the game is similar to lacrosse. We would also go fishing and make a big fried fish where everyone would come and get together. There is always a fire and much of the food would be cooked outside on the fire.

Mavs.com: When people think of Native Americans, it’s often about history. But a current story is very much missing. We want to do better, so what’s the main message you want MFFFLs to get across?

Doug: Just know that we are like everyone else, in fact 70% of Native Americans live in urban areas. Often times we are taken for another race, but in reality we are like everyone else. We eat the same foods, play the same sports, wear the same clothes, etc.

Mavs.com: Your life has really changed over the past couple of years. I heard you are now a married man! Tell us about your lovely new wife, Brook!

Doug: Brook and I met in March 2014. Our relationship evolved and we got more serious in 2017 and moved in together in 2018. She has a son named Preston who is 18 and attends UTA. He is now my stepson and he is a very good kid, or a young man, should I say. We got engaged over the summer and got involved in a pretty bad car accident in October. We’ve decided, you know what, life is too short. Let’s get married! So we went to the courthouse and will have a reception next year. So we did it! We got married on November 12, 2021.

Mavs.com: Which is also Native American Heritage Month! I think we are all really inspired by your journey and your story. Before leaving, do you have any predictions for this basketball season?

Doug: Ah this is the year! I think we can have a good playoff run this year. I think Jason Kidd is the perfect coach for this team.


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