Parents of Schimmel Sisters Motivate Prairie Band Potawatomi Youth

Rick Schimmel and Cecilee Moses visit Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation urging native youth to step into the spotlight. Photo by Ryan Coody.

Rick Schimmel and Cecilee Moses visit Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation urging native youth to step into the spotlight. Photo by Ryan Coody.

Charlie Perry

MAYETTA, KANSAS – Friday, February 28, 2014,  local youth and community members gathered in the gymnasium of the Boys and Girls Club of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to listen to a presentation from Rick Schimmel and Cecilee Moses. Rick and Cecilee are the parents of Louisville women’s basketball standouts, and WNBA hopefuls Shoni and Jude Schimmel.

The presentation kicked off at about 4:30 p.m. as Rick took the stage to discuss basketball, family values, and overcoming adversity for Native Americans. Opening up about hardships their family had to overcome to make Shoni and Jude’s dreams of playing college basketball a reality, Rick discussed the hundreds of people who said that his daughters wouldn’t make it to the next level, and were destined to remain on the reservation. He urged Potawatomi youth to disregard any ill will others may show to them saying, “the haters are going to try to stop you, don’t let them.” Talking over his family’s time of uncertainty Schimmel urged the audience to, “keep that constant desire to keep going.” As Rick surveyed the crowd he looked taken back as he finished by saying, “you guys are our next generations leaders, you’re the ones who are going to make a difference.

With Rick finished it was time for Cecilee to begin her observations with a bit of humor, “I want to tell you guys a quick joke. We’re Catholics and I once had a priest who loved to compare his baking to people. I remember one time he pulled out a batch of cookies that were perfectly, crispy, brown he smiled at me and said Native Americans.” She then said “We’re kind we’re caring, we’re just the perfect people.

After a few chuckles from the crowd Cecilee switched the topic to Native American empowerment, speaking against tribalism urging all tribes to come together under a common cause saying, “We’ve all got to learn to become one. Everyone has to come together to accomplish a lot more.” Borrowing a page from “Jack and the Bean Stalk” she reaffirmed, “native people are like a sleeping giant and they are going to awaken to change the world in a positive way.”

Rick Schimmel and Cecilee Moses visit Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation urging native youth to step into the spotlight. Photo by Ryan Coody.

Rick Schimmel and Cecilee Moses visit Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation urging native youth to step into the spotlight. Photo by Ryan Coody.

The presentation was then opened to a question and answer period where many people from the Potawatomi community received autographs and had their photos taken with the couple before they had to depart for Native American night in Louisville, Kentucky. This will take place as (3) Louisville takes on (1) Connecticut as part of ESPN’s “Big Monday coverage.” Rick expects to see thousands of Native Americans in attendance for his daughter Shoni’s last home game. Cecilee ended their presentation with one last challenge for the Potawatomi “rez” kids, “I want all you guys to go out in the world and teach what it is to be Indian.” Thousands will be on the edge of their seats Monday as the Schimmel sisters attempt to do just that.”

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the “The Indian Leader.” Used with permission.

http://www.theindianleader.com/2014/02/28/parents-of-louisville-superstar-sisters-motivate-potawatomi-youth/

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