Native American London Olympians and UN’s Girl Initiative Lifting Poor Nations and Sustainability

Indian Nations at London’s Olympics - credit Jeff Cable

eNewsChannels COLUMN: October’s launch of the UN’s Girl Empowerment Initiative, and revelation that three Native American women represented the U.S. and their Indian Nations at London’s Olympics, are creating ripples of hope and prosperity for depressed Nations in the U.S. and around the world.

PHOTO Caption (above): “I will always love this team,” said “phenom” goalie (far right) Tumua Anae (Native Hawaiian) of her Gold Medal U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team in London. Credit: Jeff Cable.

The Olympians included: Tumua Anae (Native Hawaiian), the first Native American female to win an Olympic Gold (or any medal) in the Olympics, as part of the US Water Polo Team, Mary Killman (Potowatomi) in Synchronized Swimming Duet, and Adrienne Lyle (Cherokee) in Equestrian. Their amazing performances shined a light on the fact that only three other Native American women have ever had a chance to compete in the Winter, Summer or Para-Olympics in 116 years.

What also inspired this ripple is the First Family being a great friend to women in sports. First Lady Michelle’s “Let’s Move campaign,” which now includes Indian Country, got Americans kick started. Her frequent fun appearances working out with kids, added to her pushup contest on Ellen, and nutritional example through her Children’s Organic Garden, is making it cool to be fit.

Plus the three Olympians agreed that having the First Lady, Malea and Sasha cheering them all on at London, helped make the U.S. women a force there. Joined with Basketball-loving President Obama, they celebrated all the US Olympians at the White House, including for their sweet victory edging out the remarkable Chinese, to win the medal count.

UN’s INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL

Last year President Obama challenged the UN’s General Assembly to spread that kind of empowerment worldwide after seeing studies that giving girls education and sports opportunities is the most effective way to improve health, delay pregnancy, reduce population, and transform families, communities and countries from poverty to prosperity.

This global initiative is modeled after the success of our Title IX. What broke the glass ceiling for our top U.S. 100 women pioneers in government and business in the early 70’s, was sports and dance. Title IX enforcement then gave more and more American girls those sports and education opportunities, saving us untold monies in healthcare and welfare. It has also been a boon for the sports industries, especially skiing since moms who love to ski, like my Olympic one Stevia, not only help create Olympians, but studies show that they decide where their families go on vacation. That makes ski girls priceless.

On October 11th, the UN launched an “International Day of the Girl,” with funding from USAID and Equal Futures for the 100 participating countries. That gives hope for lifting Nations like Afghanistan, by bridging the gap of girls now 18 percent literate, compared to boys 50 percent. Obama also became the first President to tackle international girl sex slavery.

“EMPOWERING WOMEN KEY TO A SUSTAINABLE WORLD”

At June’s Rio+20’s Earth Summit, women sports, thanks to “Empowering Women, took a central role in achieving a sustainable world,” according to the UN and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She then put together a team of womensports legends, like TITLE IX leaders Billy Jean King (Cherokee) and Olympic swimmer Donna deVarona, to spread sports to challenged regions. Ever since the Iraqi men’s victories at the 2004 Athens Olympics that helped lift and heal their war torn spirits, they have been requesting US women’s soccer coaches for their girls.

MANDELA HEALED AND UNITED SOUTH AFRICA THROUGH SPORTS

President Mandela brilliantly used the World Soccer Championships and sports opportunities to help heal their national wound, Apartheid, and unite the People of South Africa, thanks to Morgan Freeman’s (African-American Cherokee) portrayal of this Nobel Peace Prize winner in Clint Eastwood’s film “Invictus.” Following their victory, the mostly white crowd chanted “Nel-son, Nel-son!” Many say it was “one of the most electrifying moments in the history of sport and politics.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZY8c_a_dlQ

Women in sports - Olympians PHOTO CAPTION (at right): Top to bottom: Mary Killman, Tumua Anae, and Adrienne Lyle. Photos: John Bragg, Michael Larsen, Elma Garcia.

To also help heal historic wounds in our backyards and be a powerful example, the White House is now looking into including our marginalized Native girls in the global initiative. Having led the Title IX March in DC in 1977, I was so happy to see how it has been empowering millions of mainstream girls, which resulted in London’s “phenom” U.S. Olympians, like gymnast Gabby Douglas. And while Title IX helped these three Native Olympians, I was concerned that it is not providing the same springboard for girls on reservations, why these three had to leave to realize their Olympic dreams. Fortunately, some amazing mainstream Olympians and coaches, especially in gymnastics and cross country in the Arctic Circle, are ready to be a part of this heart-warming Native girls initiative, following in the moccasins of the beautiful tribal outreach by U.S. ski areas, SIA, and Olympians.

Anae, Killman and Lyle are examples how giving girls sports and education opportunities is a gift that keeps on giving. Tumua Anae, 23, became the “phenomenal” goalie who helped her Water Polo Team win the Gold and be undefeated at London! A jubilant Anae tweeted her followers after their victory over Spain: “Loving the moment, I will always love this team!! GOLD BABY.” These female victories were the major contributors of the U.S. winning the London medal count!

After the White House celebration, Anae was honored with the male Olympic legends, like her Hawaiian inspiration Duke Kahanamoku at Washington’s Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Exhibit, “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics.” http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/native-american-olympians-celebrated-new-smithsonian-exhibition http://www.ndnsports.com/2012/05/09/native-american-olympians-celebrated-at-new-smithsonian-exhibition/

Anae credits Title IX for getting her a scholarship to USC where she and her sister Jordan swam on their winning team while majoring in broadcast journalism. The sisters founded “AnEye 4 AnEye” (how last name is pronounced) that promotes athletic and academic development to empower the next generation of Hawaiian girls: http://www.usctrojans.com/blog/2012/04/aneye-4-aneye.html Anae next wants to learn to ski.

21 yr old synchronized swimmer Mary Killman (.com) is empowering girls through majoring in sports management at St Louis’ Lindenwood University. Here is her grueling training that creates her poetry in motion. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports/Mary-Killman-Hits-the-Pool-for-Synchoronized-Swimming-165049966.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_10151079695361723_22260338_10151080278126723#f23a179a6 Inspired by the “World’s Greatest Athlete” Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) who was also a swimmer, she said, “I am proud of my Potawatomi Tribe (also Oklahoma), which has been so supportive of everything I’ve done and I can’t thank them enough for it.”

Adrienne Lyle, 27, (Cherokee) fell in love with horses growing up on a little farm in Washington. Her native ‘horse whispering way’ and taking jobs while studying Animal Science and Business at Washington State University, made her one of the youngest American dressage riders in the Olympics – perhaps why she and Wizard rocked the crowd in London! (adriennelyle.com)

Our Native American Olympic Team Foundation (NAOTF) also honors: Danielle Pelham (Chickasaw) who was not put on the US Olympic Taekwondo Team despite being World Taekwondo Champion, as well as “Athlete of the Year” for sharing her wisdom through her programs: http://velocitytkd.com/ Plus Alvina Begay (Navajo),who qualified for two US Olympic Marathon Trials, for inspiring her people to conquer diabetes and obesity through her joyful example and as a dietician. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j79HRbEXJI The initiative could help give Danielle, Alvina and others a chance to realize their dreams for Sochi 2014 and RIO 2016.

According to Olympian Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s Senate study, Native youth lack opportunities in sports and jobs (50% unemployment), and this hopelessness contributes to having the highest suicide rate of any race for the last 100 years. Native girls are especially lacking in chances to have Olympic and other dreams, reflected in 1 in 3 girls attempting suicide, compared to 1 in 4 boys. Sharing sports opportunities is a super way to show appreciation for their male and female ancestors who helped invent the roots of 11 Olympic sports we love. (http://naotf.org/articles/tribal_gifts.htm) Mammoth’s 2009 World Ski Congress revealed the Chinese-Mongolians and their Apache and Navajo relations invented skiing. See upcoming “Snowdance Phenomena” documentary.

JFK wanted to heal our national wound with the First Americans. http://snow-riders.org/info_pages/jfkintro.html. ABC’s Diane Sawyer “Hidden Americans – the Children of the Great Plains,” spotlighted one of the many invisible Native American Nations still living in unthinkable conditions in our backyards. So including Native girls in the initiative is our big chance to heal that. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/10/diane-sawyer-reporting-a-hidden-america-children-of-the-plains-on-friday-october-14/

First Lady Michelle also says, “Let’s Move” in the long winters to prevent obesity and diabetes. Given that ski lift tickets are out of reach of most tribal youth, especially girls, our foundation enlightens and urges ski areas and communities across America to welcome home their nearby children and leaders to enjoy a free day of skiing and boarding in their ancestral lands.

“It’s a great way to honor and heal the past and start a new beginning,” said Telluride ski area owner Ron Allred, who pioneered our Ute program. And if the kids love it, follow TelSki’s model endorsed by SIA President, David Ingimie, of offering them an affordable on-going program ($15-20 for Ute Mt. student tickets and rentals). While many other ski areas have Native programs, TelSki’s is on-going starting in December, like the kids want. That is likely why Telluride had the most snow in Colorado last season. http://www.nativevoices.org/articles/UNMotherEarthSnowdance.pdf

This tribal outreach is so important because the Apaches, Navajo and Pueblo leaders and teachers have said that skiing is the No. 1 motivator of their youth to get good grades and avoid all their epidemics. A beautiful example is Olympic XC Hopeful Mariah Cooper of the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation in Hayward Wisconsin. Thanks to XC (and other) gear Billy Kidd (Abenaki) inspired the Snowsports Industry to donate to 45 tribes and Olympic coaching under his wing at Steamboat, Mariah is passing it on. Last spring she joined U.S. XC Olympians Lars Flora and Sara Studabaker (biathlete), to help launch the joy of (green) XC skiing to 650 Alaskan Inupiats in four Arctic villages.

All this led to Mariah being valedictorian of her mixed high school, and she is now No. 1 in her pre-med college class. Here is Mariah and other amazing Native Winter Olympians and Hopefuls at Vancouver. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2f98NwhqmE

In 2008, while learning about the culture and needs of the First Americans in Wyoming, Senator Obama was adopted by the Crow Nation. (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/obama-adopted-by-native-americans/ Since then President “Black Eagle” Obama is credited by most tribal leaders for doing more for the People than any other President. http://www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans He also admits that “much more has to be done.” His helping include our Native girls in the global initiative, as sovereign nations, to restore their sports opportunities, would be a huge healing step. https://m.facebook.com/AmericanIndiansForObama?id=123054714468041&_rdr

Thanks to the “undefeated” Seminole, they recently fought and won a bill to improve education for all Native American schools. Now their schools need a similar sports boost. Norman Bowers, assistant to Chairman Billie, said they were so happy to see that several Native American women competed in this year’s Olympics. “I wish one of them was our own tribal members,” said Moses Jumper Jr., retired Tribal Recreation Director. “We’ve got a bunch of little girls who are involved in gymnastics. I hope they can take it further.” This outreach is that chance.

Yet few knew about this landmark Native Olympic Women’s breakthrough for lack of much coverage. First Lady Michelle said that by celebrating the achievements of all our women champions, they can be priceless role models of hope that empowers generations of girls to participate in fun sports and help families lead happy meaningful lives.

NAOTF, which is guided by the Elders, salutes this evolutionary breakthrough for Women and the Human Race to save the Planet by President Obama and the UN launching this global “Girl Empowerment” project. Together with Sec. Hillary, First Lady Michelle, and Valerie Jarrett, Chair of White House Council on Women & Girls, (whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg, we are continuing the healing legacy of President Mandella, and the empowerment of the Seneca Clan Mothers who helped invent a balanced democracy and adopted the women who became Suffragettes.

Special thanks to the late great visionary, Gene Mulvihill, owner of (green leader) Mt Creek Ski area in NJ, where I was director of skiing, for giving us a hand that resulted in these recent blessed breakthroughs.

WHO WOULD THE WORLD LIKE TO SEE AS PRESIDENT?

On October 28, according to a BBC World Service poll, 21 countries said they want Obama to be President, except for Pakistan, which preferred Romney. That says it all. They liked Obama’s environmental, Peace, and global “Girl Empowering” policies. That means we can solve world conflicts through diplomacy, instead of increasing our war budget under Romney, by following the advice of many retired U.S. military leaders. VVhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sOIe5Ql0v8

Through President Obama we can start redirecting part of our defense budget, (which is bigger than that of the top 10 countries combined), toward emergency mobilization of FEMA, safe renewable energy, green jobs, helping reforest the planet and making the Arctic a Sanctuary (led by Redford) to help give the World’s Youth “Climate Justice” – our responsibility. That is why most children are counting on us to vote Obama. Here’s a 12 yr old Coloradoan sharing what they are thinking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaW4ua_SAk8)

If we want to continue to lift U.S. Women and families and protect our four decades of women’s rights progress through TITLE IX, which Romney has promised to overturn, then our daughters need us to vote for Obama. If we want to continue to empower all girls globally to transform poverty into joyful sustainable productivity, we need the man who led this. We need a President who will be there for all the people, not just for the 1%, especially to help diminish more expected catastrophic earth changes like Hurricane Sandy. Therefore, if we want to join 21 countries to prolong snowsports and our coastal cities as long as possible and restore Eden, we need to help get this message out far and wide to vote for our compassionate President, Barack Obama.

Article is Copr. © 2012 by Suzy Chaffee and originally published on eNewsChannels.com – all commercial and reprint rights reserved. Contact: suzynativevoices@aol.com, 323-4933877, Snow-riders.org.

TOPICS: News: Native American Interest, News: Sports, Story Index
 

About Suzy Chaffee

Suzy Chaffee got world headlines ski racing in the '68 Grenoble Olympics, and as a child ballerina helped invent ski ballet to became World Freestyle Champion and star in Bogner's world hit "Fire & Ice." As the first woman on the USOC board she united world athletes to reform the Olympic rules; led the Title 1X March for Equal Opportunities for women in school sports; and is ski teacher for Presidents, corporations and Native youth. Chaffee co-founded the Native Voices Foundation in 1996, now called the Native American Olympic Team Foundation (NAOTF), which has inspired ski areas across North America to invite thousands of tribal youth back to their ancestral lands to ski and snowboard. That inspired their Elders to lead Gratitude Snowdances that have saved ski resorts from priceless droughts and given youth a chance at the 2012 London and 2014 Russian Olympics. © Suzy Chaffee. (Note: The opinions expressed by Ms. Chaffee do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of this site or its publisher.)

, , , , ,

Comments are closed.