Every year, Native ReVision, a non-profit Dallas-based organization founded by Cheyenne tribal member, Steve Cardwell, is busily preparing for the thousands of spectators, Native American athletes, coaches and sponsors who will converge at the University of Texas in Arlington Maverick Stadium on July 4.
“One of the most effective ways we’ve found to live our mission is to hold a week-long football combine followed by the Native All-Star Football Classic. This life-changing camp and game were specifically created for Native American and Alaska Native high school football players along with Canadian Aboriginals who will graduate in 2015. Since 2002, this game has given young Native American men the honor to finish out their outstanding high school careers, many of whom go on to compete at the collegiate level while others begin new endeavors outside of football,” Cardwell said via NativeRevision.org.
According to the website, it states, “Native ReVision has set a goal to expose at-risk Native American and Indian Land [sic] kids to better ways of living and higher aspirations and goals than not dying of diabetes, suicide, or alcoholism. The organization promotes a wellness program for the entire family thereby empowering the children to help guide their elders to a healthy way of living, thus honoring our traditional ways in this modern world.”
“Native ReVision is here to empower the youth with the self-confidence and life skills to become effective leaders in whatever life paths they choose, “Cardwell said. “Every year we reach out to tribes across the country in hopes that one day they will recognize the importance of what we are trying to accomplish with these young Native men, and invest in their Native American youth.
“Native ReVision supports and guides at-risk Native American male students through athletic programs, annual events, and individual mentoring. We help these young men identify their unique talents and set goals to achieve their dreams. We encourage them to recognize and take advantage of life’s opportunities to overcome the odds and make a successful transition into an accomplished adulthood. With the closing of the Haskell University Football program, it is even more important to host this event to get these kids some exposure to colleges.”
Athleticism and physical fitness have traditionally been an integral part of American Indian culture. Almost every report of a ‘first encounter’ with the Native population by Europeans includes a description of the physical fitness and beauty of the people. Developing and maintaining excellent physical health and fitness was a time-honored core value among Native people for thousands of years.
“We need to get back to that basic conviction in order to preserve our culture in the face of the massive onslaught of negative influences directed toward our children through mass media,” Cardwell said.
According to the National Center for Educational statistics, of the more than 18 million students enrolled in college, over 65 percent are white, but a mere .09 percent are Native American and the U.S. Dept. of Education stats show a dimmer picture with .07 percent.
Native ReVision was created to help change that.
Cardwell likes to quote T.S. Elliot who spoke of “not ceasing from exploration” until we “return from where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Native ReVision’s Native American All-Star Football Classic is not only about these young athletes succeeding in football, but in life. By instilling values and the importance of education, respect, discipline and team work, these young people have an even better shot at being positive role models and strong leaders in their own lives, as well as within the Native American Community as a whole.”
Native All-Star Players have an opportunity to:
Experience life on college campus
Learn about what it take to get into a good college
Develop leadership skills that will enhance their lives and the lives of others and have fun!
“I am blessed by the creator to be able to fund this important event every year as it is a huge event for the 50 Native student athletes who attend this life changing event,” Cardwell said. “It is an honor for me to know these future leaders and to see what our next generation of Indians will look like and what they believe is important to themselves and their respective tribes.”