By Devin Jimenez
I knew that lacrosse was a field sport played across the country, but I had no clue that it came from New York and originated with the Iroquois Indian peoples. Learning about the tradition of lacrosse and its importance as a medicine game was a highlight of my trip as a member of the Course Crew during the Notah Begay III Foundation Gold Tournament this past August.
The Course Crew gave Native Americans an opportunity to act as event journalists. Over the days leading up the event, I learned a lot about how to cover a golf tournament and had an opportunity to share in the tribal culture and history of the host tribe, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. The Oneida are part of the Iroquois Confederacy of tribes, which shares many connections including a love of lacrosse.
Over the weekend before the golf tournament, the Course Crew had the opportunity to experience lacrosse hands-on during a clinic with members of the Iroquois National Team. I saw firsthand how these lacrosse players are really into their sport and were able to go really in depth in telling us about technique and the culture of their sport. I was surprised by how patient they were with us while getting us to score goals. I thought I was going to be really good at scoring goals, but every time I would try to throw the ball in, it would go way right.
After seeing how much the sport meant to the players, I began talking to my brother and my cousins that came on the trip, and we want to go and research and find out if we also have a stick game. If we do, we want to bring it back and revitalize this tradition in our own community.
This week on NBC’s Losing It with Jillian, celebrity fitness expert Jillian Michaels joined the Plunkett-Marquez family of the Yavapai Apache Indian Reservation. Her goal? Help them change their lifestyles and, in doing so, combat the obesity and diabetes not only plaguing their family, but their tribe, as well. You can see the full episode online here: http://bit.ly/cYxYc6
Now that the “A Way Out of the Diabetes Crisis in Indian Country and Beyond ” hearing is over, let’s encourage our congressional representatives to continue funding for the Special Diabetes Program to help American Indians and Alaska Natives. Here is a list of your congressional representatives (click on your state to …find your representative’s contact information): http://om.ly/nDlJ
Notah Begay III, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, today announced the 12-player field for the third annual Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation Challenge. PGA TOUR stars Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas and Hunter Mahan, along with LPGA greats Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, are among the golfers who will join Begay on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club on Oneida Indian Nation lands near Vernon, N.Y. Rounding out the world-class golf field are LPGA Tour professionals Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel and Anna Rawson and PGA TOUR golfers Vijay Singh and Rickie Fowler.
All proceeds from the tournament go directly to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation. Last year’s event featuring Begay, Villegas and PGA TOUR standouts Tiger Woods and Mike Weir raised $1.2 million in support of the foundation’s mission.
“I am extremely grateful to have some of the world’s top golfers from the men’s and women’s game join me at this year’s event and support the Foundation’s mission of empowering Native youth to sustain active, healthy and productive lives,” said Begay. “Through their involvement and the partnership of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, the NB3 Challenge will continue to fuel our commitment to the long-term battle to ensure that Native American youth are given the opportunity to be healthy and be engaged in positive activities that can promote their well-being and success as young adults.”
This year, the NB3 Foundation Challenge will be a mixed team, best ball format with a total purse of $400,000. The winning two-some will split a first place prize of $100,000. Past events featured a Skins Challenge format with Woods capturing top honors in 2009 and Villegas edging Singh for the top spot in the 2008 inaugural event.
For more information about the NB3 Foundation Challenge, visit: www.nb3challenge.com. Ticket pricing and additional event information will be available soon by contacting the Turning Stone box office at 315-361-SHOW (7469).
A recent article in The Monitor suggested that adding sidewalks to traffic heavy areas in one town may help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. “Constructing more than 30 miles of sidewalks, redesigning crosswalks and installing bike racks at two dozen school campuses can aid the Edinburg school district’s efforts to curb childhood obesity, school officials said.
The $9 million in federal funding distributed to the school system through the Safe Routes to School Program will make walking and biking to school safer and more appealing for students, said district architect Robert Estrada, who put together the application for the grant money. But it can also be part of the school system’s effort to fight childhood obesity by improving school lunch diets and encouraging physical activity among its students.
‘Twenty years ago, everybody walked to school because parents knew it was safe,” Estrada said. “We’re hoping to improve those numbers for kids that might live in areas where they didn’t want to walk because there was traffic.’”
The NB3 Foundation thinks this a great initiative to help get kids moving in a safe and active way. Recently, the NB3 Foundation broke ground on a new soccer field and community park in the Pueblo of San Felipe to help provide the community with a safe location for kids to play. http://notah.com/content.aspx?id=908
What are some other ways communities are taking action against childhood obesity? In schools, community parks, food sourcing. The NB3 Foundation wants to know your thoughts and ideas!
“In the village growing up, it’s always been about baseball, basketball or softball,” said Mike Ansera, a volunteer soccer coach who grew up in San Felipe. “Now it’s soccer and it’s become second nature. No one says, ‘What is soccer?’ Now it’s, ‘Are you going to play soccer?’” Soccer started in San Felipe about five years ago with a vision from PGA golfer Notah Begay III, who is part San Felipe Pueblo and grew up the area. After injuring his back, Begay saw what diabetes and other harmful diseases did to Native people while giving motivational speeches on the reservations. He decided to start a foundation focusing on decreasing diabetes and obesity in children one starting with his own community. Begay chose soccer as one of the vehicles because it was a sport he enjoyed playing as a youngster—the game also involves multiple players who have varying skill levels. In addition, the NB3 Foundation provides programming for youth golf.
The sport continues to grow in San Felipe and has become a communitywide effort—90 percent of the coaches are volunteers from the Pueblo, surprising some who weren’t so sure this no-hands game would take off. “My dad is one of the tribal council members and was a little skeptical about this program but after spending time with the staff and seeing the changes in the kids, especially my kids now that doing well in school and more outgoing, he’s wanting to get more of the family involved,” said Briana Sandoval, who has two kids playing soccer. “I’m even volunteering my own time for the program. “I think the whole community wants to get involved with the program,” she added. “They are noticing the changes and thinking twice about soccer.”