September 27th, 2007 by Buffalohair admin


Gawd, I tried to ignore this news item about Nike’s new sneaker the “Air Native N7”, the sneaker that’s supposed to make nice all our social ills and bring back the buffalo. But noooooooooooooooooo, I even got snail mail on this one eh.

Nike like Microsoft had very humble beginnings when they first started out. A client I body guarded was approached by a character who had a dream of sorts and was hustling for investors. Back then he was selling stock options for almost nothing. Today, my former client can kick himself in the butt for not investing in this new sneaker company, a sneaker company that started out in the back of a garage. So I guess Nike was a “rags to riches story” in a very real sense.

There is enough dialogue, sites and other material from both the corporate and the indigenous side to this story, adnauseum I might add. The name of the shoe N7 “honors the traditional Native American Seventh Generation philosophy, an approach that respects the impact of decisions made today on seven generations. The shoe’s design draws inspiration directly from Native American culture.” quoted a Nike official. But it all boils down to this;

“It’s all about the money Paisan, it’s all about the frigging money,” simple as that.

Again some mindless nymph thought it would be “cute” to use sacred traditional teachings or “Something Native” to hawk their wears. It’s as if they watched Dances with Wolves and Pow Wow Highway marathon before they went to the boardroom with this new and wonderful idea. A sneaker that will cure diabetes, paleeeeeeeeeeze! Schtick is schtick…. Racial profiling? If this were another ethnic minority there would be protests on the streets as spokesmen and women would line up to have their voices heard. Targeting Native American’s for sneakers is liken to the manufacturers of Colt 45 Malt Liquor who targeted the African American community years back. Both acts showed a careless disregard for the ethnic community, cultures, concerns as well as a taste of racism. “We know what’s best for you”

But the single most insulting thing is the fact sacred teachings and prophecies from within the Aboriginal communities are simply open game for Madison Avenue. I’m still pissed over Bob Redford’s use of “Sundance” to hawk films. Again I hear this lame excuse, “Well it’s for the greater good”. What greater good is there when we compromise the very essence of our spirituality to sell movies and now, sell sneakers?

Hello Mac-Fly………………

How would the conquering people like it if we opened up the “Jesus Christ Bar and Grill, the Apostles Dating Service or the Holy Water Saloon” not so pretty huh. Blasphemous some religious zealots would say even at the notion I could possibly print this. Yet the Native culture and religions are constantly under assault with little to no regard for our concerns. We, our culture and spirituality is open game it would seem.

Corporate American has farmed out the manufacture of dream catchers, Mandela’s and other once traditional crafts to China. If this “cottage industry” was given to the Natives instead of China it would have offered opportunity and hope for thousands of craftsmen across the Native world. Maybe even make life a little better as we became more self sufficient and self reliant. Maybe we could have tasted just a little of the American Dream. For non Natives this would not seem like much. But to us Native’s beading and dream catchers have been the core of our survival. Selling bead work put lard in our larders when all else failed. And this was taken from us as well. With dream catchers being made all over the world it would have been nice of corporate America to have given these lucrative contracts to the Native’s, for a change.

As far as I’m concerned, we reap what we sow and frankly we compromised ourselves long ago when we allowed “Sundance” and other sacred things to be used for commercial reasons. Within the cultures that’ve practiced this sacred holy tradition it was an insult a total disregard for our religion and our traditions. But hey it’s for the greater good and so what if you compromise everything that is sacred. Bob sells films and they toss some crumbs to a few Natives in the process. What good did it do for us anyway, using the title “Sundance”? Not a blooming thing when you look at the division and lack of work that faces our Native entertainers. Fact is, I believe we cursed ourselves and made the medicine bad. We are still valets parking the cars while others go to the awards.  We are forever typecast and relegated to playing the “tom tom” and trusty scout for our great white father. And dorks from production companies ask me if I can “Dress Native”, GAWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gads, now our feet are typecast and we are further isolated from other cultures. It is patently offensive to my intelligence for someone to tell me a sneaker will cure diabetes. The only real cure is to stop eating the processed garbage called food. In this nation food kills since it’s all about the bottom line, yep it’s all about the money. And this “Sacred Sneaker” stupidity is yet another way to denude the very essence of who we are as a people by bastardizing sacred teachings and prophecies just to sell, sell, sell.

Apocalypto and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (fiction/love stories at best) are classic examples of this compromise of ethics and truth. It’s all for the sake of selling tickets and selling popcorn. And we are the pawns.

An old Pueblo man told me that the corn meal line has been drawn but no one is paying attention to where they are walking. I doubt this Sacred Sneaker will help us on our journey either.

It’s almost laughable when you think about the marketing angle of this shoe. Sad part is, the joke is on us……………

Your Devil’s Advocate


Posted in BUFFALOhair – Somewhere between sanity and dementia, Featured Articles |


  1. You totally hit the mark with this one, Carlos!

    Comment by Carole Levine — September 27, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  2. Sorry, Carlos, but I think you just missed the mark.  You made some worthy points, but they don’t all apply in this case.  See my comments at for more.

    Comment by robschmidt — September 28, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  3. Whats up with all the whinning. I am sick of some people that whine and rag at every little thing.Touchy whinny babyish u pic. I am Indian and i do not have the answer to everything. But your crap about the shoes is just a real load of buffalo dung. Madonna asked for shoes for Indians and in return Nike said hell ya. Not only did they say yes but they made them awesome and personal. I think its a wonderful tribute. Nikes are high fashion kewl shoes already but now they have bben made with the Indian compfort in design. They could have used no name with just the Nike logo but no the added Indian flair. They didnt owe anybody a dam thing yet they did this and you are cryin bout feeling exploited are u 5 and cant handle things …… go see a phsyciatrist. truth be told exersise will help diabetes better eating habits aka less fry bread. Shoes will cover your feet. Indians and whites are reponsible for most of what happens in their lives. Woo hey i dont see any nikes for whiteys.Is that to unfair. Indians need the shoes cuz they dont have the money so sum shoes r better than no shoes.But ya get a bonus they Honor the Indian. If noone utter “sacred Indian names” or watch Indian movies who the hell is going to know we exist and have any clue what and who we r. I for one think of it as a honor to have movies about us. Its a movie not intended to be an acutulazation. So tell me where do u find people that understand the plight of the American Indian and want to help. Help is a key word here noone has solved the diabities problems for the whites so how can we be provided a service NOONE has. Frybread is a traditional food but it does lead to diabities. We have to help our own selves like the whites do. Do you need whitey to do everything for you and give you everything. Indians need to hold their heads high and be proud and self sufficient. Dont waste time being judgemental and get off your ass n do something that makes a differance. Nike took pride to provide a special shoe follow it up with pride in yourself . Thats the first step Indians need to have. Sincde you can make movies appaerantley that are proper and tribaly correct make it. Ya i didnt think so !!! So educate the world about us and then u have a chance. At least the Indians arent forgtten about. How tell me if noone can use native words can anyone no about anything us. And yes i liked dances with wolves and i even liked braveheart. i havent seen the newer ones out yet.O ya i luv the KC Cheifs as well. What an honor. the team in no way makes fun of or exploits the Indians. They hold the name sacred as well so do the fans. What exactly did u say you do that help Indians so much……. Are we going to go down the black road and be beggards that expect everything to be given to them. Stand up and be proud dude. We need to take pride in ourselves and our people. This is the year 2008. There is noone alive that can genocide us or even wish it upon us. star an Indian awreness group that educates people abot our plights like fighting for the Black hills Most people of all colors would agree it does belong to the Lakotas. Lets educate people and then when we ask for our land and rights everyone will rally around us rather than be ignorant or intolorant.Make a differance .Complain when u need to not just because you can. Complaining doesnt solve things facts do. Where where ya when Jack abromoff screwed the Indians and truly did take advantage of us.He is in prison now. Not because we stood up but because it was part of a bigger screw over that includes white n black alike.

    Comment by ndndreamer2 — January 15, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

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