"As a Native American, nobody takes you too seriously that you can play at that level," Hemstreet says. "It's my job to go out and get noticed."
For most Native Americans, that concept—standing out individually—is at odds with their culture, which promotes the principle of functioning as a group. That, says Ron Trosper, a Harvard-educated member of the Flathead tribe in Montana who is associate professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, hinders the advancement of Native American athletes, starting at the college level, where individual achievement is rewarded.
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