July 12, 2010

Shawn Hawk the "Sioux Warrior"

Sitting down with Shawn ‘The Sioux Warrior’ Hawk

By Jack McNeelShawn Hawk, who fights under the title of “The Sioux Warrior,” is one of the top Native American boxers in the country. He moved to Chicago with his family when he was a child and soon started boxing. He returned to the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation when he was 16. Two years later he turned professional and now is a veteran of 22 professional fights, the most recent in early June.

Shawn’s dad, Ray Hawk, was an amateur boxer himself and the reason Shawn started boxing. Ray now has an organization called “Native American Warriors.” He manages and books fighters at events around the country.
Wearing a chief's headdress is stereotypical even if a Sioux Indian does it. It trivializes the whole concept to compare a revered Native chief to a pretty good boxer.

Native American Warriors

By Jack McNeelRay Hawk, Crow Creek Sioux, started Native American Warriors because a large percentage of boxing takes place in Native American-owned casinos. “But you very seldom see a Native fighter on the card. You can bet if they were Puerto Rican-owned casinos there would be Puerto Rican fighters or if they were Mexican-owned casinos there would be Mexicans on the card. That’s the way it is in the boxing business.”

Hawk is concerned about young Native boxers. He’s concerned that if they can’t get fights they’ll quit training and fall by the wayside. “They go through the amateur ranks, try out for the Olympics and then they’re done without anybody looking out for them–managing them and getting them winnable fights and a decent purse. They often end up into drugs and booze and gang violence and we end up burying them at an early age. There’s something wrong with that.”
"Native American Warriors" must be the least original name for a Native sports organization ever. I'd be impressed if any Native athletes didn't call themselves warriors.

Other than that, it sounds like Ray Hawk is trying to do good things. Yes, gaming tribe should invest in Native performers of all types--athletes as well as artists, musicians, comedians, and so forth.

For more on Native boxers, see Boxer Connects with Young Natives and World Champion Salish Kootenai Boxer. For more on gaming tribal support, see Why No Native Performers at Casinos? and Casinos Fund Cultural Projects.

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