This week McDermitt High School was host to a three-day free football clinic attended by 18 local youths put on by Tarina Elliot, a member of the Te-Moak Tribe from Wells, that was looking to give something back.
“I learned that being from a small town," Elliot said. "You have limited opportunities as far as sports goes. So, I transferred out of Wells my senior year to Yerington, which was bigger, but still limited. A lot of people can not afford to drive to the big camps and get that attention drawn to them, and as I grew older and was more involved in my Native American community I saw a lot of native athletes not get to the next level, even when they could have been good enough. One of my personal goals is to bring sports to our athletes; that is what I am trying to do.”
Elliot has teamed up with Demetrus McCray to reach out to the native American community for athletes and a cause.
“I usually work overseas now, or down in Central or South America," McCray said. "But, I used to coach the LA Temptations women’s football team. Tarina came out for a couple of practices and was talking to me about a population right here in America that had been missed, so I told her that I would dedicate the rest of my year to helping out programs like this.”
Elliot continued, “Demetrus really just wants to give back and he could not figure out a better way to do it than with our native people, so we teamed up together and we are trying to find individuals that want that attention, and he is willing to come back and work with them. We have been traveling throughout the state together already, and we have a couple of kiddos that want to play football, so he is going to be flying them out to Las Vegas; hosting them and working with them, in person and with videos after that. He has all of the connections to get them into college football and the NFL after that, so he wants to give back. He is not charging them; he just wants to give back to the natural citizens of our country.”
The camp was started with a traditional Native American Smudge Ceremony where everyone in attendance was blessed with the tribal smoke.
The campers were also given a red paint handprint on their faces to recognize another cause near and dear to Elliot’s heart.
“Across Canada and America we have a lot of indigenous women that have gone missing and are later found murdered,” Elliot said. “Many of them do not have a voice because those tribes are very desolate. With different tribal police and the lack of experience there, the CIA and the FBI, a lot of things get lost in the shuffle with all those departments, and so women are missing and they never find them.”
MHS head football coach Richard Egan was excited about this camp coming to McDermitt for the first time.
“I am excited but nervous at the same time. I hope the kids show up for all three days, because they are talking about coming back again next year and hopefully we can make it more structured.”