Valley Journal
Valley Journal

McCracken supports healthy lifestyles, positive changes

PABLO — Sam McCracken’s message is clear — everybody leaves a footprint. So leave a positive, healthy footprint on your community. 

Last Wednesday, a wide array of students and community members came to listen to McCracken, a general manager at Nike and the brains behind the Nike N7 fund. 

N7, named for a Native American belief that an individual must consider the impact he or she has on seven generations, is a program that supports 19 different athletic clubs for Native American youth. 

All the profits from two lines of N7 shoes are funneled through the N7 fund to support the sport programs in Native American communities.

McCracken couldn’t say if any local sports programs were supported by the N7 fund, but McCracken believes that sport is a way to bring about a positive change in any community. 

And youth can easily partake in athletics. 

Sport participation will build confidence and teach young adults to make healthy life decisions — which are important factors in bringing about a positive changes within the community.

“It’s not what you say, but how you react,” McCracken said. 

“We need to be a catalyst for change,” he added.

McCracken, who grew up in Fort Peck, was approached by Nike executives in 1997 while working in a Nike warehouse. The human resource manager wanted McCracken to “revitalize the company’s Native American network.” 

In 2000, McCracken wrote a business plan for Nike to build relationships with 250 tribes around the United States, who have received funding for diabetes. By 2007, the fund started supporting sport programs in conjunction with the Nike’s efforts to combat diabetes. 

The N7 fund and shoe line are entirely devoted to the needs and tastes of the Native American community. 

The N7 shoes are designed to fit the Native American foot, which according to McCracken is substantially wider than the average foot. In design, the athletic shoe sports Native American designs and highlights, such as a turquoise streak on the bottom of the shoe. Turquoise symbolizes friendship in many Native American traditions. 

The shoe is also designed to have lower impact on the environment — a point that is crucial in the belief that one must consider his or her impact on seven generations. 

At the presentation’s end, the audience at the Johnny Arlee/  Victor Charlo theater on the Salish Kootenai College campus was full of questions for the role model speaker. Most of the attendees were students from the college, Ronan High School and Kicking Horse Job Corps. 

McCracken answered all of the questions and mingled with the students and staff members for 15 minutes following his presentation. 

“It was a really great speech,” Jory Swanson, a Kicking Horse student said. “He taught us that someone with one idea can make a difference.”

“One idea can change a lot,” he added.

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