Nike Laces up with AFN

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Assembly of First NationsTHUNDER BAY – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and Nike N7 General Manager Sam McCracken will sign a statement of partnership aimed at enhancing the health and well-being of First Nations Tuesday at the AFN Annual General Assembly in Moncton, New Brunswick.

“Healthy communities are strong communities and well-being at the community level is a key priority for First Nations,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Through IndigenACTION and other initiatives, we are reaching out to athletes, Canadians and corporations like Nike to join us in an effort aimed at supporting community-based sport, fitness and wellness and Indigenous athletes. We want to thank Nike for their enthusiasm and support around these efforts. Our work together with Nike N7 is key as we move forward and we look forward to our continued work with them and with others.”

The partnership between AFN and Nike is aimed at individual and community health and well-being with a particular focus on creating opportunities for First Nation children, teens and young adults through access to sport, physical activity, recreation, coaching and leadership. It also continues the AFN and Nike’s work together on IndigenACTION, an initiative launched last July to develop stronger networks and partnerships to better support sport, fitness and wellness in Indigenous communities and Indigenous athletes.

“Nike N7 exists to create access to sport for Native American and Aboriginal youth, and the signing of this Statement of Agreement reflects that commitment,” said Sam McCracken, General Manager of the Nike’s N7 program in North America. “We are proud to partner with the Assembly of First Nations as we leverage sport and all its benefits to empower our youth.”

Nike N7 supported the AFN Fitness Challenge in 2008 and 2009 and was one of the first supporters of IndigenACTION. Nike has provided t-shirts, backpacks and N7 running shoes at a number of IndigenACTION/AFN events. Nike N7 began its program for Native American communities in the U.S. more than 10 years ago with a commitment to bring sport and all of its benefits to members of these communities, with a focus on youth. The Nike N7 program launched in Canada for Aboriginal communities in June 2011. The Nike N7 program allows Native American and Aboriginal health programs to purchase Nike products, including the specially designed Air Native N7, at reduced prices via nike.net as incentives for health promotion and disease prevention. The N7 fund provides grants to fund youth sports and physical fitness programs, and the N7 collection raises awareness for the N7 fund. For more information visit www.niken7.com.

Today, as part of other kick-off events for AFN’s Annual General Assembly, about 100 people took part in the IndigenACTION Friendship Run at Riverside Park in Moncton sponsored by Nike and Tim Hortons. National Chief Atleo was joined by Olympian and IndigenACTION Ambassador Waneek Horn-Miller who is facilitating regional roundtable sessions across Canada as part of a report on challenges and opportunities in sport, fitness and wellness for Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada.

“The IndigenACTION roundtable sessions are part of a targeted approach to gather an understanding of the current challenges for individual Indigenous athletes and communities in terms of fitness, health and wellness and identify best practices as we move forward to address gaps,” said IndigenACTION Ambassador Waneek Horn-Miller. “We look forward to continuing these sessions with a roundtable for Ontario/Quebec and one in eastern Canada later this year. Information gathered will feed into the development of a national strategy on sport, fitness and community wellness.”

IndigenACTION regional roundtables were held in Winnipeg, MB February 15, 2011 and in Vancouver April 15, 2011. Two additional sessions will be held in Ontario/Quebec and eastern Canada this fall.

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