Celebration of American Indian Athletes

MCC's Indigenous Nations Month - 2013

(click on photo to enlarge)

On October 31 the White House released a presidential proclamation from President Barack Obama designating November as National Native American Heritage Month:  2013nativeamerican.prc_.rel_.pdf  This proclamation not only acknowledges the existence of native peoples within the Americas, but also the history (good and bad) that has been experienced by indigenous people in the United States.

Mesa Community College has previously participated in supporting the American Indian Center/American Indian Institute's Indigenous Nations Month, also in November.  In years past they have celebrated veterans, elders, educators, etc.  This year the theme of the month is 'Celebration of American Indian Athletes'.  We will recognize and celebrate the achievements and successes of historically famous native athletes like Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills in a display set up at the entrance of the Paul A. Elsner Library.  However, we will also recognize more recent athletes such as Tahnee Robinson (the first Native American - Northern Cheyenne- to be drafted in the WNBA), Ryneldi Becenti (a Navajo basketball player who played at SCC and ASU and is a member of four halls-of-fame), Jacoby Ellsbury (a half-Navajo baseball player who won his second World Series Championship with the Boston Red Sox), and the list goes on.  Check out the display located at the entrance of the Library.

In addition to celebrated national athletes, the American Indian Center/American Indian Institute will post bios and pictures of MCC's American Indian athletes.  MCC has always believed that talented native athletes have a place on their teams and so have recruited many throughout the years.  This year we have several participating not only in cross country and track, but also softball, women's basketball, and football.  Check this website for their bios as well.

On November 5th and 12th the Intertribal Student Organization (ISO) will be presenting film nights  and showcasing various American Indian themed films throughout the month.  One need not be a member of the club to attend and everyone is invited to mingle and enjoy the shows.  On Nov. 26th, English faculty Eddie Webb will premier a documentary he has been producing with help from his students titled "The Hoop of Learning Experience at Mesa Community College".  These film events will be held in LB-145 in the Elsner Library.  Popcorn will be available for snacking.

On Nov. 14th, from 12:00-1:30 the American Indian Center/American Indian Institute will also host a luncheon and guest speakers in LB-300 (Southwest Reading Room) on the 3rd floor of the Library.  The guest speakers will be GinaMarie Scarpa, founder of the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) and Alexandrea Schulte, a pro-golfer and member of the Northern Ute tribe who is also an ambassador for both NABI and the Ak-Chin Indian Community's Southern Dunes Golf Course in Maricopa, AZ.  Schulte graduated with a degree in Communications in December 2012 from the University of Arkansas, where she participated on their golf team for four years.  She was a four-year starter and her team won 4 SEC championships, 4 NCAA regional championships, and appeared in 1 NCAA championship.

NABI debuted in 2003 with a tournament that fielded just 24 high school teams and has grown tremendously in ten years to becoming the  largest Native American basketball tournament in the country.  In 2013 they hosted approximately 100 teams from all over the United States and as far away as New Zealand.  It takes place every summer in Phoenix and will continue to grow with all the support it has received of late.  Scarpa and Schulte will discuss the history of the organization, the growth and business side of it, the focus on education, recruitment of talented native athletes, and their personal journeys to today.

American Indian Recognition Day will be the culminating event which will take place on November 23, 2013 during halftime of the women's and men's basketball games against Glendale Community College.  There will be a tshirt giveaway throughout the game and colorful American Indian dancers at halftime of both games.  During the break in the men's game, MCC's American Indian athletes will be recognized, so come out and support them all.  We look forward to highlighting the successes of our talented native athletes and wish to have you there as well.