All-Star Football Classic highlights increasing commitment and engagement of UTA to Native American students and faculty

ARLINGTON, Texas -- High school seniors from Native American tribes across the United States and Canada will gather at The University of Texas at Arlington June 24-30 for academic activities, camaraderie and competition that culminates with the 14th annual Native All-Star Football Classic at UTA’s Maverick Stadium. 

The game is the only one of its kind in the U.S. It is specifically for Native American and Alaska Native football players, along with Canadian Aboriginals, who are 2016 high school graduates. For some of the students, this will mark their time setting foot on a college campus.

UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari said the weeklong football combine will be eye opening for the student-athletes, and he encouraged them to take time to explore all that the University has to offer. Since 2013, UTA has hosted the annual event, which is produced by Native ReVision. The Dallas-based nonprofit uses competitive sports to support and challenge Native American student-athletes and encourage them on their paths to success.

"We are honored to host this event and to welcome these young men to UTA and to spend time with them through the week to build a college going culture. We invite members of the Native American community and supporters to join us at Maverick Stadium to cheer them on,” Karbhari said.

The Native All-Star Football Classic between the Blue Eagles and Red Hawks begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 2 at Maverick Stadium, 1307 W. Mitchell St. Ticket prices are $10 for adults; free for children under five, and may be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/native-all-star-football-classic-tickets-25934255055?aff=es2 .

“The Native American ReVision Football Classic takes place as UTA continues to enhance engagement with the community we serve and we’re very proud of our recognition by Winds of Change magazine as a top destination for Native American faculty and students,” said Karbhari.

Winds of Change, a publication of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, named UTA to its 2015-2016 list of the Top 200 Colleges for Native Americans . The University hosts of one of the largest annual powwows in the region, facilitates scholarships offered by the UTA Native American Student Association, and has tremendously dedicated faculty and staff who add to the rich tapestry of campus life and have contributed to the national recognition.

Robert Caldwell, a doctoral student in the Department of History , said the accolades are not surprising.  

“UTA has provided me with an educational experience that I don’t believe I could have received anywhere else,” Caldwell said. “I found great support through faculty who believed in and encouraged my research and leadership pursuit, and who appreciated me sharing my Choctaw-Apache culture.”

In October, Caldwell published the book “Choctaw-Apache Foodways” through the Stephen F. Austin University Press. The book explores Choctaw-Apache culture and food traditions, that in some cases, date to the 1700s.

“I wanted to validate the culture and make it accessible,” Caldwell said. “I think my research does that by presenting the reader with historical documents, archaeological evidence and oral traditions that contextualize the food traditions of this specific community.”

Caldwell received a 2015 Culture Bearer Award from the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism for the work. He also earned a visiting student fellowship through the Smithsonian Native American Awards Program that he will complete in August.

Les Riding-In, a UTA College of Liberal Arts assistant dean and director of graduate programs, commended Caldwell and called his work just one of many wonderful examples of scholarly excellence by a Native American student or faculty member from which campus visitors can draw inspiration. 

“The Native ReVision football combine and game represents what I am certain will be a life-changing experience for many of these young men,” said Riding-In, an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation. “In addition to friendship, fun and action on the gridiron, they will get to talk to college recruiters, financial aid professionals and others at UTA. The interaction will give them a new perspective for the future and the encouragement to take the next step forward.”

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Research 1 – Carnegie “highest research activity” institution of more than 53,000 degree-seeking students in campus-based and online programs and is the second-largest institution in the University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php .

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