By Alan Chavoya, graduate assistant in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
The Marquette men’s basketball team on Saturday, Nov. 17, celebrated two things: its 74-55 victory over Presbyterian College and Native American heritage.
Marquette is one of 14 college basketball programs partnering with Nike’s N7 initiative, which provided the Golden Eagles with specially designed warm-up shirts and shoes for the game. The sneakers — Jordan “Why Not?” Zer0.1 Low N7 — are part of Nike’s Air Native N7 collection, footwear designed by community experts and tribal leaders.
The turquoise color used in the shoes’ design represents harmony, friendship and fellowship in Native American culture. All proceeds from the N7 collection are returned to youth sports and physical activity programs in Native American and Canadian First Nation communities. Since 2009, N7 has been committed to providing opportunities for sport and physical activity to Native American and Canadian First Nation children so that they may lead healthier and happier lives.
Sam McCracken, the visionary behind the N7 Fund, grew up on the Fort Peck Assiniboine/Sioux Reservation in Montana. Working his way up from a warehouse job with Nike to become manager of Nike’s Native American Business, McCracken has been a champion for bringing physical fitness programs to Native American reservations and Canadian First Nation communities in North America. As a former athlete and basketball coach, McCracken understands how sports help build self-confidence, which can assist young men and women to become positive role models in their communities.
“Although the Marquette team is only scheduled to wear N7 gear once throughout the 2018–19 season, it is important we continually show our support for initiatives seeking to collaborate with Native American and First Nation communities,” said Dr. William Welburn, vice president for inclusive excellence. “We must also recognize Marquette’s history with Indigenous groups, for Marquette’s campus is situated on land that was inhabited by various Native American tribes long before Marquette was founded. As a higher education institution committed to serving and engaging the larger community, we must acknowledge and affirm the lives of the people who have called Milwaukee or Mino-akking — meaning ‘good earth’ or ‘good land’ — home before any of us.”
Learn more online about the histories and cultures of these Native American tribes who live in the Great Lakes region online.
Celebrating diversity and inclusion at Marquette University