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UTTC stepping up to handle Nike shoes
Air Native N7 Shoes to Promote Activity and Fitness 16 October 2007

BISMARCK (UTN) The United Tribes Wellness Center will be an outlet for the new "Air Native" performance shoe recently introduced by the sportswear company Nike.

      "We're involved with Nike to provide the new shoe as part of our Wellness Incentive Program," said Ruth A. Buffalo-Zarazua, Director of the Strengthening Lifestyles Program.

      On September 26, Nike unveiled what it called the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians. Tex G. Hall, former Three Affiliated Tribes chairman, acted as emcee for the event in Beaverton, Oregon.

      Nike said the Air Native N7 is designed to fit the distinct foot shape of American Indians and has a culturally specific look.

      The company promised that the shoe would be distributed solely to American Indians. Tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale and pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

      "We are one of the wellness programs that will receive the N7," said Buffalo. "We're going provide them to our students as part the Wellness Incentive Program and the walking club."

      According to Physical Specialist Scott Davis, students will receive a pair of the shoes free by participating in the walking club or other activities of the Healthy Lifestyles Program.

      Nike had planned for a first shipping date of November 1, said Buffalo. A conference call was scheduled to work out the logistical details. The Healthy Lifestyle Program was taking advance orders; for those who would purchase the shoe the price is $42.80, she said.

      Also expected to participate will be the United Tribes USDA Extension-Land Grant Program and the UTTC Athletic Department.

      Nike said its goal for the shoe is for it to become an inspiration for an active lifestyle, promote physical fitness and help combat the epidemic of diabetes.

      Nike's McCracken, a member of the Fort Peck Tribe in Montana, said the company "is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans," and that the Nike is stepping up.

      The N7 shoe will help "elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness," McCracken said.

      All profits from the shoe will support "Let Me Play" programs on Native American lands, the company said.

      Nike said its designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that, in general, American Indians have a wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates.

      As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

      The N7 name is a reference to the tradition tribal practice of making decisions with the future in mind, as far ahead as seven generations.


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