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Institute of American Indian Arts Partners with Nike, Inc.

Jun 13, 2023

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is proud to announce a newly established, multi-year partnership with Nike, Inc. that provides invaluable learning opportunities between Nike, Jordan, and Converse brands’ industry-leading creatives and IAIA’s incredibly talented and passionate students, artisans and cultural professionals.

In its first year, the partnership will take the form of a ten-week internship at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon for select IAIA students. Open to students in any area of study, the internship provides a competitive salary, a housing stipend, and commuter benefits, with the subsequent possibility of full-time employment. It includes a structured creative curriculum along with curated Nike experiences and programming focused on growing yourself, building connections, and ultimately, changing the game.

“Our partnership with Nike is rooted in a shared commitment to expanding educational and employment opportunities for IAIA students through creative design coursework development and instruction, internships, mentoring, and enhancing career pathways for permanent employment”

Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)

IAIA President

“Our partnership with Nike is rooted in a shared commitment to expanding educational and employment opportunities for IAIA students through creative design coursework development and instruction, internships, mentoring, and enhancing career pathways for permanent employment,” said IAIA President, Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation). “Nike will have increased access to the rich and diverse talent pool of IAIA students and alumni, as they continue to build an ever more diverse and representative creative community.”

The two students awarded this summer’s internship are recent IAIA graduates Jennifer Benally (Oneida Nation and Diné), Alpha Chi Member, New Mexico Gamma Chapter, ’23 and Daveishena Redhouse (Navajo Nation) ’23, who will join Nike’s Color Design and Jordan’s 3D Design teams respectively.

“We are taking action to create a better world by advancing diverse, inclusive teams and championing a strong culture of belonging—one that reflects the diversity of the athletes we honor, the people who love our products and the communities we serve,” said Nike N7 General Manager and Co-Chair of Nike’s Native American Network, Sam McCracken (Sioux and Assiniboine). “This partnership will help fuel our holistic efforts to drive ongoing education, visibility and representation for the Indigenous community.”

“At Nike, we believe diversity of background and thought fuels design and accelerates innovation,” added John Hoke, Nike’s Chief Design Officer. “Our commitment to ensuring that all design perspectives are represented is critical to serving the future of athletes and sport.”

Years in the Making

The partnership between IAIA and Nike has been several years in the making. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Martin met virtually with Sam McCracken. In September 2022, Nike representatives visited the IAIA campus, meeting with Dr. Martin, Director of Sponsored Programs Laurie Logan Brayshaw, Career and Internship Director Lorissa Garcia (Acoma Pueblo), and Provost Felipe J. Estudillo Colón (Laguna Pueblo). Nike teammates toured the IAIA campus, visited the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, sat in on classes, held an info session with students, attended a listening session with faculty, reviewed portfolios, and answered questions about Nike’s global internship program.

Nike returned to the IAIA campus in January 2023 for further meetings, leading to Sam McCracken’s announcement that Nike would offer internships specifically for IAIA students. “I was literally in tears—literally in tears,” shared Garcia. “You know, in my language, just thanking Sam for the opportunity that they were providing for our students and how impactful that was going to be, not just for our students and our IAIA community, but for Indigenous peoples in general.”

Provost Colón added, “The unmatched experience this internship and partnership will provide our students will not only grow Indigenous artistry and career opportunities but also the visibility and relevance of contemporary Indigenous arts and artists around the globe.”

About Nike’s commitment to Indigenous communities in North America

Since 2022, Nike has invested $625,000 in grants annually, administered by CAFA, to nonprofits that support access to sport, economic empowerment, education innovation and social justice for Indigenous communities in North America. This investment continues the company’s legacy of support for Indigenous communities through the N7 Fund and other grants, totaling $10.9 million to 296 organizations since 2009.

About Nike’s Native American & Friends Network

Nike’s Native American & Friends Network (NAN) is one of eight employee-led resource groups at Nike. A population of team members grounded in Indigenous culture, the network supports Diversity & Inclusion in creating a workplace that is optimal for the personal and professional growth of the Indigenous community. Rooted in Indigenous teaching and practices, NAN represents their cultural voice at Nike, and provides experiences that continue to share the wisdom and connection from a Tribal perspective.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Jason S. Ordaz, IAIA Communications Director, at, or Download and view the assets of this press release to share or promote in the media.


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Institute of American Indian Arts

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing, Studio Arts, and Cultural Administration; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly a hundred federally recognized tribes. Named one of the top art institutions by UNESCO and the International Association of Art, IAIA is among the leading art institutes in our nation and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).