Jodi Rave: Nike executive true to Native roots
"Sam McCracken holds a rare job in corporate America as the leader of a marketing program specifically targeting Native America.

McCracken, Native American business manager for Nike Corp., has succeeded on many business fronts. For now, he's best known as the man who put the kick into Nike Air Native N7, a shoe specifically designed for Native athletes - and aspiring ones.

“He's a native Montanan and someone who's really been successful working in that corporate world and still embracing his Native culture and Native values,” said Jerry Lamb, Montana's economic development specialist for tribes. “He's that role model we all need.”

The Air Native - released in September - is available only through Nike's Native Business Program, which works through Native communities to provide shoes at below-market costs to tribal health and disease prevention programs.

But even before the N7 came to life, McCracken - who carries his great-great-grandfather's tribal name “Pacunda” - enjoyed icon status in Native America as Nike's Native American business manager.

McCracken is best known for his passion in serving Native people.

“He's always had it together,” said Florence Garcia, a cousin from Fort Peck. “He's never sought glory and fame. He always has a good spirit about him and always remembers where he comes from. I was overwhelmed with how modest he is.”

Garcia said she's proud to see the “greatness from our ancestors” manifest within her cousin. “It's wonderful.”

McCracken credits his “grandfather” Joe Day, as his inspiration. “He instilled in me core values,” he said. “One of those messages was, ‘Don't forget to follow the path the Creator is going to create.' I've always kept that in me. ‘You are going to work in the white man's world. The Creator will take care of you.''"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Man behind Air Native embraces his culture (The Missoulian 12/6)

Another Story:
Diversity Training Aims to Increase Understanding of Tribal Nations (KULR 12/5)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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