'Off the Rez': Athletes Bring Higher Education Awareness to Native Americans

By Elfman, Lois | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 20, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Off the Rez': Athletes Bring Higher Education Awareness to Native Americans


Elfman, Lois, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


On the playing fields and hardwood floors across the country, Native American athletes who are excelling in sports are illustrating the possibility of higher education to Native communities.

"Sport can be a catalyst to drive many positive things in communities across the U.S. and Canada," says Sam McCracken, chairman of the Nike N7 Fund, which brings sports to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada.

"Our athletes exemplify that positiveness of what sport can do," says McCracken, a member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe. "That's where our ambassadors can play a uniquely positive role in inspiring kids to achieve things they didn't believe they could."

One such player is making a name for herself as a Native American athlete. Over the summer, basketball player Jude Schimmel, who is now in her fourth year at the University of Louisville, had more than a dozen speaking engagements with Native American tribes around the United States.

Jude's story, and that of her older sister, Shoni, were documented in the 2011 film Off the Rez, which depicted their parents' decision to move the family off the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon to Portland so the girls could attend a public high school and have greater exposure to college scouts.

"The fact that I was able to make it off the [reservation] and go to college and get an education ... by setting that example, leading by example, I feel like that's inspiration," says Jude, who completed her bachelor's degree in three years and is pursuing a masters degree this year.

"People ask me all the time, 'What does it take to get where you are?' I take the time to try and explain to them and help them to the best of my ability."

Shoni and Jude aren't the first Native Americans to have the opportunity to receive a college athletic scholarship nor the first to succeed, but they are among a select few. Jude notes that some have had the chance, but haven't seen it through, and she's intent on helping change that. Jude says she is often asked how she does so well in school.

"I've been trying to be a great student since I was a young kid," Jude says. "I've been along a path where I know how to deal with the adversity of school. Whether it's hard or whether it's easy, I try and do my best."

The student part of student-athlete didn't come as naturally to Shoni, but their parents tried to keep her on the right path. She embraced academics at the University of Louisville, where she also helped her team reach the national championship game in 2013.

During her four years at Louisville, Shoni says she learned the impact she had. An episode of HBO's Real Sports showed that some Native Americans traveled great distances to see her play.

"It's awesome to hear their stories," says Shoni, now playing with the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. "It's a special moment to share with someone who's traveled so far and looked up to you."

Setting an example

While her road to college came via sports, Shoni is quick to tell other Native Americans that sport isn't the only route. Whether they dream of being doctors, lawyers or artists, it's within their grasp.

"There are plenty of different ways you can go," Shoni says. "There are options. Don't be closed-minded about things."

McCracken says, "The right athletes provide a positive persona of achievement. I think that's one of the things, especially in our tribal communities--seeing folks be able to aspire and follow their vision, their dreams or their passions."

Among the Nike N7 Fund ambassadors--athletes who make appearances at Native communities in the United States and Canada --are representatives from a diverse range of sports. Among them is Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams (currently out for the season with a torn ACL), the winner of the Heisman Trophy in 2008 during his sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma, who is of Cherokee descent. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Off the Rez': Athletes Bring Higher Education Awareness to Native Americans
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.