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 Spooner Brings Indian Youth Closer to London Olympics

Spooner, Wisconsin, April 21, 2008 – With the sparring behind the scenes rivaling the boxing superstars in the ring, Native Voices Foundation’s (NVF) “Future Olympian’s Day” Benefit in Spooner April 16, turned out an uplifting landmark for American Indian youth competing in the London Olympics,” according to Olympic skier, Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee, NVF’s organizer.

(L-R) Olympic Archery Hopeful Nachole Soulier (St Croix) with Heavyweight Boxing Champions, Joe Hipp and Harry Funmaker, Ski Hopeful Mariah Cooper (Ojibwe-Oneida), and Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee, coaching at Spooner’s “Future Olympians Benefit.” photo: Terrell Boetcher
Joe Hipp (Blackfeet) inspiring World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Hipp (Blackfeet), 2003 Native American Heavyweight Champion Harry Funmaker (“Ho-Chunk Hammer”), and South Dakota Golden Gloves director Chissie Spencer (Seminole), wowed the region’s risingstars with priceless coaching, and fans with exciting sparring at the Northwest Sports Complex.

“They made boxing easy. I like them,” said a beaming eight-year-old from the Red Cliff Nation.  

Spencer’s message on avoiding pitfalls that can hijack NAIG, Olympic, and Pro careers, hit home for many. Hipp took time to talk to every family about their future Olympian. X-country ski hopeful Mariah Cooper (Ojibwe-Oneida), led a ski clinic with Chaffee, sharing tips she learned at Steamboat’s Olympic Training Center.

“I am thrilled how the benefit united Indian Country’s leading casinos behind developing youth for Vancouver’s 2010 and London’s 2012 Olympics,” said Barry ZeVan, beloved Minneapolis weatherman and original PR Director for Grand Casino Mille Lacs. Chaffee honored ZeVan there for raising her tribal consciousness 15 years ago, and producing “American Indian Homelands,” an award-winning eye-opener.

gaiashkibos (Lac Courte Oreilles), National Congress of American Indians Secretary, joined Chaffee and the magnificent St Croix Trails Dancers in welcoming and cheering on their Future Olympians in boxing, skiing and archery. “I am committed to helping give Indian youth their Olympic Dreams,” he said.


“gaiashkibos might have been an Olympic basketball contender if his community could have afforded to give him a hand,” said Suzy.  “Now together we can,” he said.  For his visionary leadership in standing up for Indian youth, Nancy Cooper, (Ojibwe) the coordinator, presented him with a buffalo robe.

“Whenever our people can get Olympic quality coaching and conditioning, they win championships,” said Stonehorse Goeman, Seneca Marshal Arts Champion and conditioning-coach for Indian Olympic Boxing talent at Foxwood’s Casino.
“Only one Native American woman, Naomi Lange (Karuk ice-dancer), has ever competed in the Modern Olympics, and they are key to getting families healthy,” said Cooper, whom Suzy called a “Heavyweight Champion for youth.”

“America Indians invented the roots of 10 Olympic sports (, and partnered with Ski Utah and ended their pre-Olympic drought (  As MVP’s, it’s time they’re included in humanity’s Greatest Celebration on Earth,” said Chaffee. 

Sponsors included: The Landing, St Croix Travel, White Birch Printing, NuStevia-sweetener,, and Northwest Indian NewsTV.  Joined with Native Report (PBS), youth in 15 states plus Canada can get Spooner’s skiing and boxing coaching and stay “clean and lean.”


NVF is a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit, cross-cultural partnership developing Native American talent for Olympic Teams.

Contact:  Suzy Chaffee,, 3234933877

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Photo:Gene Tagaban (Tlinket-Cherokee) of Native American Olympic Snowboard Team, Ravendancing in Alaska

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