Wash. - Hes part coach, mentor, friend and counselor. Angelo
Baca knows whats its like to grow up Native and wants
to do what he can to help Chief Leschi kids grow strong and rich
in the traditions of the past and be prepared for the future.
24, the University of Washington graduate is an accomplished filmmaker
and nationally ranked cross-country runner. Hes the driving
force behind the 21st Century Afterschool programs Inter-tribal
games and a firm believer in learning through play. "Most of
the games are interactive, physical and communication-based with
minimal equipment as would have been done in the old days in playing
tribal games. Play teaches kids social and cultural cohesion like
cooperation, goal setting, and equality/fair play," said Baca.
games kids learn include Shinny, Athabaskan football and stickball
and come from different regions such as the Northeast, Plains, Southwest,
Alaskan/Canadian and Great Lakes. Today the group of 14 will learn
lacrosse. Not only will they hear the technical aspects of the game
but theyll also discover it was a very important sport to
the Iroquois and learn how it honored those ancestors.
history lesson teaches how the Indians see the world through their
eyes. The kids should be proud of the extensive knowledge the games
hold for them. Besides being fun, its enriching their whole
mind, body and spirit," maintained Baca.
Century Afterschool Director Sunny Anderson said kids are eager
to take part in the Inter-tribal games and look forward to spending
their afternoons with Baca. "Different games let different
kids be successful. Kids are learning that it is not necessarily
the big and strong who win games, but that little, quick and smart
students can have successful strategies too. They are learning that
exercise is fun and important."
makes sure the kids know his four rules before the lacrosse game
begins: Listen, respect, participate and be safe. Those words, combined
with encouraging coaching tips and woven with Northeastern Indian
legends make the time on the playing field physically challenging,
educational and engaging. Ten year old Nick Nelson enjoys the games
and his Navajo teacher. "Hes fun. The lacrosse is good.
I like all the running. It gives us energy."
wants the kids to be impacted on many levels. "I believe in
a holistic approach and working together from the big person to
the small person. If we are able to see ourselves as our own nations,
then we must work from the inside out from the beginning to get
where we want to go. If they see I am just like them, then we can
enjoy our time together and learn something from each other."