Urban Native Education Alliance
5th Annual Native Pride Basketball Camp 2012
The 5th Annual Native Pride Basketball camp was a spectacular success! This event was organized by Urban Native Education Alliance. Our co-sponsors included: SIHB Spirit Walk Fund, Beck Thompson and Family, Peak Sports and Fitness, (SPS) Nathan Hale Native Club, and Muckleshoot Tribe. We are incredibly thankful for all our volunteer support staff, cooks, and volunteer instructors, they all generously gifted our event with their time, energy and expertise.
The camp focus was twofold: develop basic basketball fundamentals and instructing youth on cultural values and how these values transcend their role as valued tribal members and athletes. Native “Warrior” concept was utilized to prompt dialogue for deepening the discussion on the responsibilities that
an athlete has in our contemporary Native society. Many tribal values are shared intertribal universals such as: cooperation, holistic balance, mutuality, self-discipline, responsibility to family and community, interdependency, respect for self and others. As athletes these concepts are demonstrated both on the court and off the court. Tribalism and athletics both work synergistically to strengthen core identity, build self-confidence and self-esteem. Modern society offers few platforms or “stage” opportunities for our urban Native youth to stand out amide the fabric of our multicultural society, however, as an athlete Native youth become elevated to a visible status. The “stage” becomes the basketball court. This particular “stage” provides visibility and thereby increases the Native athlete’s personal responsibility to themselves, team, family, tribe and intertribal community.
Illuminating these elements promotes personal awareness, and increases Native youth understanding of the importance in making healthy lifestyle choices, and understanding the inherent privileges associated with being an athlete.
The Basketball camp integrated professional coaching staff with peer instruction, thus increasing the quality and intensity of the basketball drills, and skill development for camp participants. Peer coaching was instrumental in not just community building, but also leadership development, mentoring and role modeling. One peer coach named Angel Tulee (Yakama/Makah) remarked “It is truly gratifying to volunteer as a peer coach, I felt really proud and noticed the kids worked hard, each day I noticed skill improvements and the kids all got along”. Native athletes were responsive to their peer coaches and seemed to thrive on the high expectations set by both coaches and fellow athletes.
Daily talking circle discussions, guest speakers, opening prayer and closing circle sessions laid the framework for the athletes to excel as outstanding athletes and outstanding Native community members. The camp culminated in a grand finale marked by an honoring celebration feast. The feast consisted of Elk stews, spaghetti, French bread, copious amounts of fresh fruit, salad, water, and of course a Costco cake. The nutritious feast was prepared by volunteer UAI/ANEA members and served over 30 family and community members. Each participant received a commemorative camp T-shirt as well as thoughtful words from volunteer coaches.
Highlights of the camp this year includes guest speaker Damian Bell-Holter (Haida) a division I elite basketball player with Oralle Robert University. Damian spoke to our youth about tribal values of giving back to community, importance of loyalty, and reaching for your dreams. Damian is living testimony to the personal power we each hold in believing in our dreams no matter how big. Damian Bell-Holter took pictures, signed autographs, and interacted with our kids throughout the afternoon.
We hope to expand the camp next year and hopefully provide more athletic opportunities for our urban Native youth. Our Native athletes need to have opportunities to develop their skills and reach their potential which requires an active effort by: parents, family members, community members, Native organizations and Native agencies. Together as a community we have the resources to make an impact on the quality of life for our youth, so let’s continue to collaborate, cooperate, and share responsibility for our valued Native youth.
Special thank-you to Pam Nason and family, Rebecca T., Randi K., Greg K. Kaylee K, Gabby and Hanna E., Angel T, Tulee Family, Smith Family, Jessica V, Alice T., Karen S., Josh, Mariel S., Tom S, Maryanne P., Kelli , Julia W-P, Karen E, and Kids, Dr. Jill H, SIHB Spirit Walk Fund, Robert U, Damian B-H., Kalindy and S.O., Geraldine W, SPS Nathan Hale Native Club and Roger Fernandes