Nike, Inc. wants to encourage the youth of Native America to reap the benefits of fitness and sport. The Beaverton, Oregon-based sports and apparel company is so serious about this endeavor that it is launching the Nike Air Native N7 Collection, created to promote youth fitness and youth sport programs in Native American communities throughout the country. The shoe collection will officially be launched on Nov. 7, with funds funneled into the N7 Fund, utilized for the Nike “Let Me Play on Native Lands Fund.”
Recently, National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest Stevens Jr. was appointed to the Nike Native Lands Fund Board of Directors. Stevens joins fellow board members Jacoby Ellsbury, Peter Buffet, Jack Burns, Tex Hall, Frank King, Wilson Pipestem, Orson Porter, Crystal Shawanda, Vanessa Short Bull, Victoria Wright and Sam McCracken. Stevens said he was proud to join such a diverse cast of leaders in the name of fitness and sport for Native American communities.
McCracken, general manager of Native American Business for Nike, Inc., said Nike stores have been loaded with shoes from the N7 collection. Models include men’s and women’s Air Pegasus, men’s Huarache, boys and girls preschool and toddler shoes and an adult organic t-shirt. “Sport is a means to unleash human potential and establish a positive footprint,” McCraken said.
Native American athletes have left their footprints all over the arena of sport for generations, from the athletic prowess of Jim Thorpe to the Olympic heroics of Billy Mills. Today’s athletes like Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Bucktooth have proven our communities are the new breeding ground for professional athletes. Further still, Olympic hopefuls like Alvina Begay wait in the wings for the chance to push the Native American potential to the envelope and beyond. Nike wants to harness that energy for focused dynamics from native athletes on the playing field.
A recent Nike press release stated, “The Nike Air Native N7 was the result of nearly two years of collaborative research, development and fit testing in partnership with the Native American community.” Boasting specifications created exclusively for Native American feet, Nike is confident the result is uniquely suited for a true Native American fitting performance product.
McCracken said, “The Nike Air Native N7 marks another milestone in Nike’s long-standing commitment to Native American communities. Profits from the sale of the Nike Air Native N7 will support “Let Me Play” programs on Native American lands that leverage sport to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, he added.
The shoes bear the standard Nike performance-driven nomenclature: multi-colored heel tab, leather upper, feather designed sock liner, encapsulated Nike air bag, Nike + enabled, Native-Fit soles built specifically to foot and width shapes of Native American communities, and rubber outsoles produced from 10 percent recycled rubber content. Last and certainly not least, the shoes come standard with the distinctive Nike Swoosh.
As all Nike products, the Native N7 line embraces Nike’s Considered design ethos, where details in the development and design of the shoe are geared to deliver sustainable innovation and reduce waste, without compromising product performance. The Considered design ethos also honors the traditional Native American Seven Generation philosophy, an approach that respects the impact of decisions made today on seven generations. The shoe’s design draws inspiration directly from Native American culture.
“Nike created the N7 Fund to promote youth fitness and youth sport programs in native communities,” McCracken said.