Sports & Recreation

Salt River Tribal Wellness Committee Members (l-r) Carol Silversmith, Vickie Andrews, Councilman Tom Largo and Janet Johnson stand with Sam McCrackin, Nike N7 General Manager(center) after he gave them the new Nike N7 shoes.
Photo by Richie Corrales

Nike Visits Community to Shoot N7 Ad Campaign

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

Recently, Nike partnered with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to host its first advertising campaign for the N7 footwear product line. Salt River was one of three Native communities considered for the location for the N7 photo shoot. The company was interested in marketing the N7 through the sports of basketball, training and running. The marketing materials developed will be used for such items as in-store promotion, retail fixtures, community outreach materials, a Web site, digital materials and advertisements throughout the United States and Canada.
The photo-shoot project was on a fast track; a scouting day was scheduled to look at various locations in the Community that would accommodate the needs of the shoot. Photos were taken and sent to the ad agency and Nike representatives for review. Once final word was received on the selected locations, notification went out to the department representatives and a scheduled timeline was developed. The locations selected to highlight basketball and training were the Salt River Pi-Copa Gym and the Salt River High School Football field, track, bleachers and outdoor basketball court. In addition, Papago Park was used for the running portion of the shoot. All permitting requirements were met.
Two casting calls were held, one in the Two Waters Complex and the other at Mesa Community College. Youth from elementary to college age were encouraged to try out at the casting calls for a chance to appear in the Nike advertising photography. About 150 Valley Natives turned out for the casting call, where they posed for front and three-quarter side-view photos. All waited eagerly to receive callbacks for the first round of tryouts. Those who received callbacks were asked to perform their workouts or play basketball in sports attire while Nike staff photographed them in action.

Supporting Healthy Lifestyles
Nike is currently partnering with Native American communities to help support healthy lifestyles among Native youth through playing sports and staying active. “We are getting the Community to change their lifestyle,” said Sam McCracken (Sioux/Assiniboine), general manager for the Nike N7 program.
N7 is a shoe is inspired by Native American wisdom of the seven generations, which calls for decision-makers to take into account the impact of their actions seven generations down the line. It is designed with the environment, as well as with the future of Native communities, in mind.
“Involvement in sports and physical activity leads to greater self-confidence, enabling youth to be a force for positive change in their communities. N7 stands for our belief that everybody leaves a footprint and can make a difference in their life and community, now and for generations to come,” McCracken said.
McCracken developed the concept more than 10 years ago, working with Nike to develop his vision of making the brand accessible to Native American communities in the U.S. and Aboriginal communities in Canada while encouraging the concept of healthy lifestyle change.
McCracken said that by this summer Nike will provide the names of the participants who auditioned and have been selected to be featured in the N7 advertising.

Following the WellPath
The week before the Nike photo shoot, SRPMIC launched a new lifestyle program called WellPath with tribal employees. The WellPath program identifies specific employees as “Champions,” who represent the tribal departments and programs. Their key responsibility is to share information on WellPath and encourage their co-workers to participate in programs and projects designed around the SRPMIC WellPath.
Champions who are Native American were randomly selected to receive the Nike Air Native N7 shoe, courtesy of Sam McCracken. “For their commitment to being in the program, they received the new N7 series shoe that will be out soon,” said McCracken. The Nike Air Native N7 shoe can only be purchased through a health provider or diabetes health representative. The company has done research and found that the feet of Native Americans are, on average, taller and wider by one size than the feet of Nike’s average customer; thus, developing a shoe that fits the specific needs of the Native American community is very important.
The regular N7 footwear collection includes performance footwear for the general consumer and can be purchased at most retail locations. Proceeds from the sale of N7 products go to the N7 Fund, which provides grants for sports and physical-fitness programs to help Native communities move toward wellness.For more information on the N7 Fund, visit

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