Atlanta Dream Shoni Schimmel a big draw for American Indians where ever she plays. She greets her fans in Los Angeles last Saturday night. Photo by Maria Brunner Ventura
LOS ANGELES — Atlanta Dream rookie Shoni Schimmel (Confederated Tribes of Umatilla) is a draw in basketball arenas around the country. She is draws a large number of American Indians where ever she plays. Los Angeles was no exception on Saturday, August 8, 2014 as the LA Sparks hosted the Atlanta Dream at the Staples Center.
This year several WBNA teams even hosted Native American nights around the country when their teams played the Atlanta Dream in recognition of Shoni’s American Indian heritage.
Last Saturday night, the LA Sparks with the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission celebrated American Indian Appreciation Night at the game against the Atlanta Dream. The night was coordinated by the Commission with the support of the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF, Fernandeno Tataviam tribal office, United American Indian Involvement (IHS clinic) and other American Indian organizations.
The love is mutual – Photo by Maria Brunner Ventura.
American Indians love Shoni and she makes it apparent that the feeling is mutual.
Some 300 Indian youth and families were able to attend the game with tickets donated by sponsors. In all, over 1,000 American Indians attended the game. Some of the American Indians traveled to Los Angeles from as far away as Reno, Nevada. Various tribal leaders also attended, as well as former Los Angeles Laker A.C. Green.
After the game, Shoni spent time with members of the American Indian community answering questions and allowing photographs to be taken with her.
Sponsors of the American Indian Appreciation Night included the San Manuel Tribe, a tribe that has sponsored several of the Commission’s youth events. Other sponsors included Southern California Edison and Anthem Blue Cross/ Wellpoint.