November 13, 2008

Two Sooner role models

Native American tribes look up to pair of SoonersSports heroes have been difficult to come across in the Native American communities of Oklahoma. Rarely have children had the chance to watch someone of their ethnicity, let alone tribe, receive praise for excelling in a nationally recognized sport.

But now, two players from the Oklahoma football team have given these disadvantaged tribal communities a reason to cheer each Saturday. That's because quarterback Sam Bradford and long snapper Derek Shaw, both of American Indian descent, have developed into reliable contributors for the No. 5 Sooners.

Bradford is a descendant of the Cherokee tribe and Shaw is a member of the Osage and Ponca tribes. They have cheerfully embraced their roles as ambassadors of the underrepresented Native American community and wish to set a precedent for others counterparts.

"Around here, Native American people don't have role models, per se, to look up to from their own race or their own tribe," Shaw said. "So at first, it was kind of overwhelming, but the older I got the more I accepted the role. As far as me and Sam go, I think we are trying to be a real inspiration to them and show them they can do whatever they want to do."

So far, they have both proved to be exemplary role models on the field.
Comment:  This article claims Bradford isn't "an official member of the Cherokee Nation." Other articles have said he is, and I'm pretty sure he is.

For more on the subject, see Jocks Aren't Good Role Models.


Anonymous said...

I think it is clear that you have no grasp of what it means to be Native American in Oklahoma. There are thousands of people that claim Native American descent one way or the other; however, what does matter is whether or not the person is making an effort to learn about and also support the Native community. Constantly questioning Sam Bradford's heritage is very cynical and discredits the very Oklahoma Native communities he wishes to help.

Rob said...

The only thing I'm "questioning" here is whether Bradford is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. I'm not questioning his Cherokee ancestry or heritage.

Is Bradford making an effort to learn about and support his Native community? Feel free to tell us about his efforts.