A Neat Sports Story: THE STORY OF JORDAN TOOTOO
JUST THIS PAST WINTER THE HOCKEY WORLD WAS TREATED TO A UNIQUE STORY.
Playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Hockey championships a new and exciting player emerged...one with a bright future ahead of him as a professional hockey player. Not a unique story in itself but this young man has come half a world from living a few hundred miles South of the North Pole to further his professional sports ambitions.
You see Jordan is a full blooded Inuit..Not too long ago we would have referred to him, in our ignorance, as an Eskimo. His background is one of living off the land in the harshest environment that the Earth has to offer but the change in Latitudes and Attitudes is only half of the battle for him.
The Inuit are to this day a Noble and Proud people...their inherent self pride in both themselves as members of the Earth's peoples coupled with a pride in their own culture makes them a gracious and caring community. They live in a world as far away from our value system as can be imagined.
This self pride has a distinct negative aspect to it.- you see Jordan's older brother proceeded him traveling South to pursue a career in Hockey. A relatively small transgression of some of the rules of "the white man's society" caused a shame so deep in Jordan's brother that he took his own life. There is not really any blame to pass around with this tragedy other than we should all recognize the difficulties of culture shock that these young men face.
Jordan's story becomes even more incredible in that he is dealing with the loss of his older sibling, while adjusting to the new white man's culture as he tries to break into the pros. He has traveled a full 2,000 + miles South to accomplish this. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators of the NHL and is in their training camp trying to make the team as this is written. If his spirited and determined play at the Junior World Championships this past winter is any indication he will not be denied a spot on that team's roster.
How is this relevant to all of us living in the white man's society or not? I don't know about you but I am rooting for this kid...as a matter of fact I cannot think of another story recently that has galvanized all cultures together as much as Jordan's story.
Be you of Uto-Aztecan of Caddoan origin whose territories are as far removed from the Inuit territories as could be or from a peoples such as the Algonquian or Athapaskan whose territories border Inuit lands the drama and hope that this story drives home as the overcoming of adversity should be felt as deeply as I feel it.
It does not stop with the Native American community. This story transcends cultural boundaries into the white man's world. It is fair to say that all who are sports fans are touched in some way by the perseverance of the Human Spirit that Jordan's quest embodies.
You see I have no Native blood in my veins,. not a drop...I am fully descended from white Europeans but somehow I feel a pride in this young man and wish him nothing but success. Extrapolating from my feelings I would imagine that the Native American community must feel a pride that is amplified from my own or if they don't somehow they should.
I have a feeling that this young man is going to make us all feel a bit better about ourselves and that is good for all peoples.