Noah Hotchkiss is making huge strides for Native people with disabilities.
After a car accident in 2009, Noah was left paralyzed from the waist down. After trying a handful of sports post-accident, in 2014 Noah was introduced to wheelchair basketball. Basketball opened so many doors for Noah, he decided to use it as an avenue for other Native people with disabilities.
Noah is a member of the Year 1 class of Dreamstarters, whose theme was Wellness. Noah used his grant to create the Tribal Adaptive Organization whose mission is to "use sports as a tool to impact and shape the lives of native population with disabilities."
The first step was creating four basketball camps spanning across New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. The camps included instructional clinics and exhibition games. Now Tribal Adaptive hosts a multitude of games, tournaments, and even travels cross country. This summer Running Strong donated $5,000 which enabled him to take 5 talented young wheelchair basketball players to the University of Illinois Wheelchair Basketball Camp this summer.
Throughout his two years working on Tribal Adaptive Noah was also named a National Indian Gaming Youth Ambassador in 2016 as well as the 2016 Champion for Change by the Center for Native American Youth. He also spoke at the White House's event, "Generation Indigenous: Raising Impact with Innovative and Proven Strategies, Philanthropic Native Youth Summit" in August of 2016.
All of that before he was 18.
This spring Noah was named the MVP of the National Wheelchair Basketball tournament and has committed to The University of Illinois Fighting Illini, a Division I school for wheelchair basketball.
The Illini have had wheelchair college basketball since 1947. In an interview with Indian Country Media Network he said,
“They have wheelchair basketball really dialed down. It was kind of hard to pass up considering some of the other colleges, but in terms of academics, it’s the best sports school to go to if you want that and wheelchair basketball.”
Between his personal success and the success of Tribal Adaptive, Noah has broken down the stereotypes about what it means to be Native, what it means to be a person with disabilities, and has paved the way for a multitude of other Native athletes.
Noah, thank you so much for being such an inspiration and we are so proud to have you on the Running Strong team.
To read more about Noah and his accomplishments, click here!