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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 11, 2003 - Issue 78


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Nike Donates $50,000 to Install Track at Native American School

by Danielle Johnson, Nike, Inc.
Sequoyah High School's running track in Tahlequah, OklahomaIndian Reservations haven't been known for their exceptional athletic facilities, in fact, with most of the education budget cuts the athletic facilities have been last to be funded. Nike hopes to reverse that trend by donating $50,000 to help refurbish Sequoyah High School's running track in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. Sequoyah High School was started by the Cherokee Nation for Cherokee orphans of the Civil War in 1872.

With the rising risk of diabetes within the Native American community, physical education is a top priority. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among Native Americans. Prevalence of type-2 diabetes among Native Americans in the U.S. is 12.2 percent for those over 19 years of age, with an 80-percent increase in type-2 diabetes in children and young adults.

On November 22, 2002 Nike joined the Cherokee tribal leaders, school administrators and community members in dedicating the new track and field. Sequoyah High School is the first Native American school to be awarded Bowerman grant funds. The new equipment will be a resource for the students of the high school, local feeder schools, an elementary school and the entire surrounding community.

The dedication ceremony was led by school administrators and included an address by Nike's Geoff Hollister and inaugural one-mile runs on the new track by youth and adults from across Oklahoma. Anthony Pivec, Sequoyah High School Superintendent stated, "The availability of these facilities will give Native American students an opportunity to use the inherent athletic skills they possess, and a quality facility to display them. The expected increase in student pride will carry over into their academic and social endeavors. The skills and experiences will be available for a lifetime."

Sequoyah High School is a residential boarding school serving more than 250 students of Native American descent and is renowned for its award-winning cross country running program. It is one of eight Off-Reservation boarding schools administered by the United States Office of Indian Education, which supervises 187 schools for Native Americans nationally.

"The much-needed renovations to our running track are greatly appreciated. It's an honor to be selected by Nike to receive this tribute to Bill Bowerman, one of our running and coaching heroes," said Pivec.

Nike's Bowerman Track Program is part of the Nike's ongoing efforts to increase physical activity among youth-and give them the means to do it. The Bowerman Track Renovation Program began in 1999 as a tribute to legendary Oregon running coach Bill Bowerman for his lifetime contribution to the sport of running. Bowerman was the University of Oregon track coach from 1949-1972; co-founded Nike; revolutionized the running shoe; turned the college town of Eugene, Oregon, into the running capital of the world; and introduced to the US the importance of jogging and fitness. The Bowerman Track Renovation Program provides matching cash grants to community-based, youth-oriented organizations that seek to refurbish or construct running tracks. Nike is contributing $1 million to the Bowerman Track Renovation Program for the refurbishment or construction of youth-oriented track and field facilities worldwide.

"We are proud to partner with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on this project at Sequoyah High School and are honored to be working with the Cherokee Nation," said Bob Speltz, Nike's Global Community Affairs Manager. "We're pleased that the Bowerman Track Renovation Program continues to help improve young runners' experiences in the sport of track and field."

Sequoyah High School is one of 15 recipients of Bowerman Track Renovation Program grants. Oregon schools in Bend, Boardman, Canby, Colton, Coos Bay, Culver, Klamath Falls, Rogue River and Stayton have also received Bowerman Program grants. Recipients nationwide include Aptos, Calif., Battle Ground, Washington; Culver City, California; Kansas City, Kansas and Willingboro, N.J.

Tahlequah, OK Map
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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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