Schimmel speaks and signs

Native American icon speaks at Worley youth conference

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Louisville senior Jude Schimmel speaks to a group of 200 children at the United National Indian Tribal Youth Conference on THurdsday at the Worley Longhouse in Worley.

WORLEY - The easier the questions were, the longer it took to answer.

But Louisville senior Jude Schimmel told her story and allowed for Q&A after speaking to a crowd of more than 200 at the United National Indian Tribal Youth conference here Thursday.

"Will you eat lunch with me?" one child asked.

"Will you sign my shirt?," another followed.

While the 20-year-old Native American icon was too busy for the lunch, she did sign dozens of items.

What she hoped made a much longer impression, however, was her opinion on drugs and alcohol - and how stereotypes make her otherwise beautiful race ugly.

"It hurts me," Schimmel said. "There's other stuff you can do that's much more positive. I know it's really easy to give in to peer pressure, but it's not worth it, I promise you."

Schimmel, whose family moved to Lapwai last year, then challenged the children to recognize what's wrong and right.

"You know what's positive for you," Schimmel said. "Everybody has dreams, but if you decide to do all that negative stuff, you're never gonna get those goals you have."

To help convince the audience, she noted a majority of her journey was spent on the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, Ore. Schimmel recalled playing in the driveway with her sister Shoni, pretending to be NBA and WNBA superstars, before they moved to Portland and received Division I scholarships out of high school.

Shoni, last year's eighth overall WNBA draft pick has been successful since entering the league. She was named the All-Star game's most valuable player and has played a key role in getting the Atlanta Dream into playoff position.

"Look at her now," Jude said. "To see all that come true that's crazy."

With athletics an important part of her upbringing, Schimmel made sure to tell the youth that hard work translates elsewhere, as well.

"It doesn't have to be sports," she said. "If you want to be a lawyer, actor, artist; whatever it is, you can do it.

"People ask me, 'How did you get where you are?'" Schimmel added. "It's all hard work. Education is probably the most important thing you can get."

As a sophomore, when she and Shoni lost to Connecticut in the national championship, Jude received the Elite 89 award for NCAA student athlete who has reached the title game while also achieving the highest academic standard.

She hopes the ability to work hard will lead to her next achievements: Winning Louisville a national championship and playing in the WNBA.

As an ambassador for her race, Schimmel knows she and her sister's success will help motivate others.

"(Shoni and I) are not doing it for ourselves," Schimmel said. "We're doing it for all Native Americans, so people can tell themselves, 'If they can do it, I can do it.'"

Louisville senior Jude Schimmel speaks to a group of 200 children at the United National Indian Tribal Youth Conference on Thursday at the Worley Longhouse in Worley.

 

Louisville senior Jude Schimmel poses for a picture with Miss Indian World Taylor Thomas, a Shoshone-Bannock tribal member from Fort Hall.

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