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Native American camp offers sports, life skills

Track and field is one of five sports offered to children and adolescents participating in NativeVision in Bernalillo. Anthuan Maybank, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1996, is one of the coaches. (Courtesy of Ed Cunicelli)

BERNALILLO – Hundreds of Native American youth from more than 15 different tribes will attend the 23rd annual NativeVision sports and life skills camp Thursday through Saturday in Bernalillo.

Nearly 50 former professional, Olympic and collegiate athletes will lead basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field training clinics and pass along lessons for healthy living and reaching educational goals.

The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos will jointly welcome youth between the ages of 7-18. Other major partners include the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation, which will lead soccer clinics, and Ralph Lauren, whose graphic designers will be leading art workshops.

“We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to children and youth from our tribal communities,” said Nathan Mascarenas, NC Project Director of the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos Inc. “NativeVision offers a powerful mix of sports training, educational workshops, and mentoring to keep children on a healthy path toward success.”

bright spotSome of NativeVision’s athlete mentors have been volunteering since the first camp in 1997.

Returning to this year’s camp are four renowned indigenous men’s lacrosse coaches: David Bray (Seneca), member of the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame and former coach for Cornell University and the Iroquois Nationals; Justin Giles, Muscogee (Creek), who played for the University of Virginia and the Iroquois Nationals; Ira Thorpe Huff, of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation; and Alf Jacques (Onondaga), a renowned traditional wooden stick maker and coach of the Onondaga Red Hawks Lacrosse. When not practicing their stick skills, campers will learn from these inspiring coaches about the Native American origins of lacrosse.

Other indigenous athletes will lead some of the basketball and track and field clinics.

Anthuan Maybank, who helped the U.S. win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4×400 meter relay in 1996, is among the mentors, as is Kerry Jenkins, a former NFL lineman with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.

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