Nike Empowers Native Americans With New N7 Collection

Nike N7 Sneakers Native Americans
The Nike N7 Juvenate.
Courtesy of Nike.

Nike is ready to unveil the latest installment to its annual N7 collection.

The collection, done in collaboration with Native Americans, includes a hybrid jacket, T-shirt for men, tanks for women, as well as the Nike Air Max Tavas and Juvenate sneakers.

The line, which hits stores and the company’s website March 19, is built around the call to “move your generation.”

The Beaverton, Ore.-based firm tapped athletes and N7 ambassadors Lyle Thompson, a lacrosse player and Iroquois Confederacy Ambassador, and Jude Schimmel, a basketball player from Umatilla Tribes.

Contemporary artist Bunky Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and Yakama Nation of Washington, added design elements to the collection.

Nike N7 Air Max Tavas Nike N7 Air Max Tavas. Courtesy of Nike.

“For my culture, springtime is an awakening,” said Echo-Hawk in a statement. “The snow is receding, the Earth is waking back up and there is life coming back to the prairie. For us, a color like crimson is a shade of red coming from black, which is the color of wintertime. So there is a definite meaning tied up with all these colors.”

Painterly marks appear on product throughout the collection, as well as reflective inserts.

Other artistic touches include graphic triangles on jackets and sweatpants, and four-point stars on the back of the women’s Nike N7 Block Star Tight.

“It’s something that a lot of tribal communities identify with,” said Echo-Hawk. “They pay homage to the power that is above us.”

Echo-Hawk added that Nike’s collection has impacted the confidence of people within Native communities.

“I’ve seen tribal elders as well as young kids wearing the collection,” he said. “People are excited to see a cutting-edge line that celebrates their culture. It’s a game-changer in our community. Kids are tapping into the cultural message of the clothing.”