of teaching youth to play basketball in the Arizona sun, Natalie
Diaz will be taking some area teens to Hawaii to shoot hoops this
a River Valley High School graduate who has played on professional
women's basketball teams, has begun a Fort Mojave Teen Project on
the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. Her goal is to help the youth
learn to respect and be proud of themselves and their bodies through
a variety of physical, cultural and intellectual activities.
trying to keep them busy and expose them to some things they might
want to dedicate themselves to in the future,"Diaz said.
100 teens are involved in one activity or another in the program.
The program includes such activities as weight training, art lessons,
computer training, a creative writing seminar and lots of basketball.
trips are not ordinary. Participants have been on a trip to the
Tolerance Museum in Los Angeles and to the "And 1 Mix Tape
Tour"(basketball tournament) in Phoenix. They will go to the
Grand Canyon State Games an Olympic style athletic competition
July 18 and 19, in Tuba City. Those games will be dedicated
to Lori Piestewa, the American Indian soldier and prisoner of war
who was killed in Iraq.
finally, July 26 to August 1, the most dedicated of the high school
boys will participate in the World Youth Basketball Tournament in
Maui, Hawaii. The tribe's bird dancers and singers will also perform
during the game's opening ceremony.
they are not touring, the high school students participate in daily
activities they work out and lift weights at a local gym and meet
with a nutritionist. One day a week they go to the Fort Mojave Child
Care Center to read to preschool children. There are also beading
classes at the tribes Cultural Center and art lessons from
artist in residence Paul Jackson. A published poet, Tim Seibels,
who is also a professor in the master of fine arts program at Old
Dominion University, gave a creative writing workshop at the Aha
Macav High School to sixteen of the teens.
of the teens recently participated in a week-long website training
program in Parker. Students were taught how to build an Internet
website and at the end of the seminar, were presented with their
laptop computer and website building software. The three students,
Raymond Rodriguez, Crystal Bedell and Regina Hills will be working
on building a web site for the teen program.
midnight basketball party kept teens at the Tribal Gym until about
2 a.m. Saturday, June 28. Besides basketball, Diaz arranged for
door prizes, a barbecue and a disc jockey to play music.
gives the kids an option in the evenings, rather than getting into
from the Fort Mojave project will also host a three-on-three basketball
tournament with teens from the Chemehuevi tribe and will teach a
basketball workshop for teens in the Hualapai tribe.
Mojave Teen Project is sponsored and funded by the tribal council.
Some activities are done in conjunction with the Fort Mojave Recreation
Center and with a teen job program called One-Stop.
like it,"Diaz said. "I think they like to commit and to
take responsibility, which will be very good for them."