Tuesday, August 14, 2012


1984: Alwyn Morris holds eagle feather
Librarians looking to add books about the Olympics and athleticism in general will want to order Native Athletes in Action by Vincent Schilling.

One chapter in the book is about kayaker, Alwyn Morris (shown in the photo to the right). Morris is Mohawk. He and his teammate, Hugh Fisher, won a gold medal for Canada in the 1984 Summer Olympics. Standing on the platform to receive his gold medal, Morris honored his ancestors and those who helped him get to the Olympics by holding an eagle feather in his left hand.

Each chapter in Schilling's Native Athletes in Action is rich with detail about each athletes life. You learn, for example, that when Morris's grandfather was sick, he moved in with his grandparents to help his grandmother take care of him. That is a familiar story to me. I've seen it a lot. Last summer, my daughter moved in with my parents to take care of my mom.

Schilling's book has thirteen chapters. In addition to details about each athletes life, he takes care to provide a sidebar with information about each athlete's sport, and, a box about his or her tribe. As you can see by scanning the names of athletes featured in each chapter, the athletes are from tribal nations in the United States or Canada, and their sport of choice is wide-ranging.

  • Richard Dionne (Sioux), Canadian Basketball Association, Basketball Champion
  • Cheri Becerra-Madsen (Omaha), Wheelchair Racing Olympian, World Record Holder
  • Cory Witherill (Navajo), Indy Race Car Driver
  • Alwyn Morris (Mohawk), Olympic Gold Medalist in Kayaking
  • Naomi Lang (Karuk), Ice Dancer, Olympian, Figure Skater
  • Beau Kemp (Choctaw and Chickasaw), Baseball Player
  • Shelly Hruska (Metis), Ringette Team, Canada
  • Jordin Tootoo (Inuit), National Hockey League
  • Mike Edwards (Cherokee), Bowler, Professional Bowler's Association Champion
  • Ross Anderson (Cheyenne/Arapaho, Mescalero Apache), Downhill Speed Skier
  • Stephanie Murata (Osage), National Wrestling Champion
  • Delby Powless (Mohawk), Lacrosse Champion

With the Common Core's emphasis on nonfiction, librarians will do well by adding copies of Native Athletes in Action to their collection of materials for children in third grade and up. Native Athletes in Action is part of the Native Trailblazers series published by 7th Generation.

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