Season 4, Episode 6
Shayna Powless and Eli Ankou, professional cyclist for L39ion of Los Angeles and defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills, respectively, provide valuable insight on how professional athletes leverage data to improve their performance and how they combine their passion for sports with the Dreamcatcher Foundation.
Shayna Powless is a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, USA Cycling-certified coach and a professional cyclist for L39ion of Los Angeles. She grew up in Roseville, California and currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2016 and was a member of the UCLA cycling team for four years. She co-founded the Dreamcatcher Foundation with her fiance Eli Ankou who is a professional football player and member of the Dokis First Nation in Canada. The foundation aims to empower Native youth through sports and to raise awareness of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls pandemic in North America. The foundation also aims to raise funds for organizations actively fighting this crisis.
Eli Ankou is a member of the Dokis First Nation (Ojibwe) and professional football player (defensive tackle) for the Buffalo Bills. He grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada but currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Eli graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2016 and was a member of the UCLA football team for five years. Additionally, he is a co-founder of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, which aims to empower Native youth through sports and raise awareness of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis in North America.
Welcome to Data Brew by Databricks, with Denny and Brooke. The series allows us to explore various topics in the data and AI community. Whether we’re talking about data engineering or data science, we’re going to interview subject-matter experts to dive deeper into these topics. In this season, we’re going to focus on connected health, and how data and AI augment and improve our daily health. While we’re at it, we’re going to enjoy our morning brew. My name is Denny Lee. I’m a Developer Advocate here at Databricks, and one half of Data Brew.
Hello, everyone. My name is Brooke Wenig, machine learning practice lead at Databricks, and the other half of Data Brew. Today, I am thrilled to introduce two of my long-term friends, Shayna Powless and Eli Ankou. Shayna Powless is a professional cyclist on Team USA and she races all domains of bikes, from mountain bikes, gravel bikes, time trials, cyclocross, eSports, you name it. Eli Ankou is a nose tackle for the Buffalo Bills. The two of them had studied together at UCLA, and co-founded the nonprofit, the Dream Catcher Foundation. Welcome, Shayna and Eli.
Thank you, guys.
Appreciate you having us.
Of course. Thank you both so much for making the time to join us. I know you’re both very busy as pro athletes. I guess to kick it off, Shayna, could you talk a bit about how you got into the field of cycling?
Shayna Powless 01:20
That’s a great question. Yeah, I’ve pretty much been involved in cycling since around the same time I started walking. I actually rode my first bike, I think I was probably around a year old, a little tricycle. Then I got off training wheels officially when I was two years old, did my first cross-country mountain bike race when I was four years old.
I think the fact that both of my parents were triathletes, super into cycling, just very, very talented athletes themselves, helped inspire me to start from such a young age. They also inspired my brother as well. Because my brother, he’s a couple of years younger, but followed in my footsteps with cycling and all the other sports that we did growing up.
We did pretty much everything from cycling, triathlons, swim team, basketball, volleyball, even gymnastics. I even did horseback riding for a couple of years when I was a teenager. Yeah, we kind of did it all, but cycling was always something that we gravitated towards the most, and slowly over time realized that that’s the sport that we excelled at the most as well.
I would say probably in my high school years, competing in the NorCal high school mountain bike league via NICA for my high school was really the first stepping stone in me reaching that professional level of cycling. Just doing well in the high-school league, doing well in local races as well, really helped get my name out there, helped me develop as an athlete, even helped me get my name out there with USA cycling.
That’s really where it all started for me. The rest is history. I continued on into college with competing for the UCLA cycling team, competed on the road in mountain biking. Then, I turned professional when I categoried out of the junior ranks when I turned 19. Pretty much since the age of 19, I’ve been competing professionally through road, mountain biking, eSports.
Like Brooke already said, I’ve done a lot of different disciplines, even cyclocross, and most recently gravel and track racing. Yeah, I’ve done it all. Only discipline I think I haven’t done, actually, is BMX. Yeah, that’s pretty much how it all started for me.
I forgot to mention that Shayna’s also a cycling coach of Powless Performance.
I’ve been a coach for a few years now, and it’s something that I love to do aside from being an athlete. Yeah, I just love it.
That’s awesome. I want to segue a little bit to Eli though, because as a fellow Canadian, I’m surprised that you’re not playing hockey or rugby, that instead you’re… what got you into football instead, actually?
Man. Football was never really part of the plan, initially. I actually used to do something called the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. That’s basically a little program that a lot of kids get into from the age of like 13 to about 19. They learn a lot of leadership skills. They learn a lot of military-style exercises, like survival.
One field I really wanted to get into was being able to fly planes. Right? I got my first little ride along in a plane when I was like 13, 14. It was a glider, and I fell in love with aviation from then on. Obviously, time goes on, you got all my friends telling me, “You’re a big kid. Like, you should try football, right?” Family, friends as well. Next thing you know, man, I’m trying out for this youth football team called the Cumberland Panthers. I had a blast, man.
That’s pretty much what started off my love for the game. It’s not until the age of like 15 where I was really like, “Okay,” getting in deeper into the sport and trying to learn as much as I could with an intent behind it. Initially, it’s really just playing for fun and just going with the flow. But yeah, pretty much an early-teen kid starting the game of football just because somebody just suggested I should try it out.
Yeah. That’s pretty cool. Then, this naturally segues to the question, actually for both of you, which is, many kids really do, they dream of becoming professional athletes, which you two are right now, which is pretty cool, but the chances of it, though, is actually pretty slim. What made you realize that you still wanted to pursue that progression anyways, knowing full well that the idea of becoming a professional athlete is that difficult?
Well, I’ll keep it real with you, man. Early on, I had quite a few coaches tell me, “You know, you should probably aim for a little less lofty goals. You should try and aim for something a little more realistic.” it’s one of those things you don’t want to put into the mind of a kid, a teenager or a younger child, because it limits their thoughts on what they can achieve. Right?
That could be for sports, and that could be for literally anything else. You have all these people out in the world who are doing great things. I just saw you guys mentioned data and AI, and there’s so many people in that field that are doing amazing things. I’ve been keeping up with that as of late. For me, I think it’s important for kids to have the encouragement from an early age, and the reaffirmation that they do have the ability to achieve what they want.
In terms of becoming a pro athlete, a lot of times kids look at the pro athlete and they figure, “Well they kind of just got there, you know? It’s just, that’s who they are.” That’s who they are now, but they don’t realize that there’s a whole story behind that. They don’t realize that athletes like myself or Shayna, it took thousands of hours of just refining your craft, getting better at what you’re doing.
It took a lot of effort. I think that’s something that needs to be, I guess, reinforced, is repetition, and being able to realize that you’re not quite at your ceiling at a certain point, you just keep on pushing your limits and see where you can go with it. At least that’s for me, I don’t know.
Yeah. For me, I think a huge impact on me ever since I was young was really just being surrounded by super-supportive and encouraging people, such as my parents, other family members, my brother. I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for the support system that I had growing up, and all the encouragement and support I received from my parents.
I can’t even… it’s hard to even begin to explain the amount of time and effort my parents put into supporting my brother and I, no matter if it was cycling or any sport we wanted to do. Even outside of sports, when it came to extracurriculars, when we were doing singing lessons, acting lessons.
Because, we did a lot as kids, and if it wasn’t for our parents, I don’t think we would’ve been involved in as much as we were. Looking at that, looking back, we were super-blessed. Yeah, I don’t think we would be where we’re at today in our professional careers if it wasn’t for that amazing support system along the way.
Yeah. I think a lot of what both of you had just mentioned would be applicable to any passion that somebody has, pursuing. Like having a support system and having goals, and not trying to let other people tell you to not reach for those goals, or reach for your ceiling.
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. To this day, I always say my parents, Eli too, of course, are my number-one support people. Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today without those people.
I know a lot of professional athletes, they’re also very data-driven. In addition to all the amazing support network, you also use data to help get to the next level of your game. So I’m curious, from both the cycling and the football perspective, what data do you use to help you get to that next level? What do you track? Shayna, if you want to go first?
Yeah. I would say cycling is a very data-driven sport. All the metrics we use in cycling to measure our efforts, power output, heart rate, we all put it together just to track performance, track gains that we’re making along the way. For me personally, and I know a lot of other athletes and professionals use TrainingPeaks, which is basically an online site where you can upload all your cycling data from your computer that you use in training, racing, et cetera.
Oh yeah, I also use a power meter and I know a lot of other cyclists do as well, though when I first started out, I didn’t use any of that. I didn’t use heart rate, I didn’t use a power meter. I just went out, rode my bike and had fun, and everything was just measured off of perceived output. Now that I’m more developed, now that I’m racing professionally, I think it’s very important to be able to use just hard data from like a power meter.
Heart rate, not so much, but I think it is still important to look at, just heart rate variability to just track your recovery, and where you’re at with your training. Yeah, mostly I would say I base my training and gains off of power. So, I have certain zones that I base training off of, zones like one through five, and each zone has a certain power window, which is called… it’s basically power watts.
That’s pretty much everything that I base my training off of. My personal coach uses that as well to give me my personal training. That’s also what I use for most of my athletes who do have access to a power meter. Although, I do work with some people who just use heart rate and that’s fine too.
But at the same time, I would say heart rate tends to be a little bit more subjective, and can be more influenced by a lot of outside factors, such as stress, temperature, et cetera, things like that. Whereas power is power, it’s much more direct, more accurate, I guess you could say. So, yeah, that’s what I personally use and prefer the most. Yeah, again, cycling is very much data-driven.
I’m rarely not looking down at my computer to track where I am with my watts, and how hard I’m pushing. Usually I don’t pay attention to that if I’m going really hard in a race, although I do tend to look at it if it’s a time trial, just because I think that’s important, just so I can track and make sure that I’m not going out too fast or too hard. Yeah, that’s what I tend to use.
I think that, I guess, the more we think about these things, the more we talk about it, the more you realize that everything around us is driven by data. Right? Yeah, I guess in the sport of football, pretty much most of a coach’s decision is driven by data. We have whole departments, in a professional team at least, and college teams, that are purely dedicated to collecting data on ourselves or on the opponent. Right?
You want to find out what they’re going to do on third down on the 12-yard line. And then, you’re going to want to find out what they do in the red zone. You’re going to want to find out their tendencies, when the running back shifts out of the formation. There’s so many different values or actions that can be quantified on some level. That drives a lot of what I do, right?
In comparison to all the numbers that I would generally see up on a board or on a spreadsheet, my job is pretty simple as a football player, and that’s create disruption, get in the back field, get to the quarterback, get to the running back, obviously create separation, but that’s the final action that I do. Those actions are driven by the data that was given to me by my coaches, who are in turn getting theirs off of the analytics guys.
Again, right, just an example. I don’t know if anyone is brushed up on their football knowledge, but third down in the world of football, third and long, is known as a “passing down”. That’s something very important for a lot of people to know, especially if you’re on the defensive line. Maybe you’re going to make a specific decision to get in a more pass-ready stance. That means getting myself ready to just go straight up field and get to the quarterback, rather than anticipate some sort of a run play.
Again, this is a very simplistic example, but for me as a pro athlete, a lot of what I do is governed by the data that I’m given. That’s something that a lot of people end up having. Once you get to college, once you get to the pros, you’re spending most of your hours at work in the film room, whether that’s studying your opponent, studying yourself, how you move, or again, their analytics.
So, it is a very crucial part of the sport at this point. Maybe back in the day, it was a little bit more analog. It was a little bit more… I’m talking the old, old days, leather-helmet type football may be a little bit different, but in this day and age where everything is so digitized and readily available for someone to watch, it’s a very data-driven sport. Pretty much like a lot of things in the world now.
No, that makes a lot of sense. One of the things that, even though you’re talking about very different things… like, in terms of, Eli, you’re talking about third down, and Shayna, you’re talking about the power watts, which actually I need to catch up on, by the way, since I’m still on Strava, and basically using heart rate… how do you balance the potential information overload, right? Versus actually trying to actually decipher the nuggets of actual actionable information that you’re trying to work with.
For example, Shayna, you specifically talked about, because there’s the predilection for heart rate, that’s why you’re working with power watts. Or in your case, Eli, the fact that, in the case for the third down, okay, how do I decipher that in this case, it actually is going to be a passing play versus, “Okay, now they’re going to try to trick us and make it a running play.” How do you balance that, what invariably is an information overload?
I know that in the sport of football, it’s a balance, right? You don’t want to be too driven by numbers, but you want to be able to use them as a tool, right? At the end of the day, it’s a tool, just like a hammer would be to a nail, to a construction worker. You don’t want the data to be the sole driver of what you do. So, again, me as a football player, I still have a level of individuality or a level of instinct that comes into play.
That I have to, in a split second, recognize what I’m seeing in terms of data, and be able to react instinctively. Again, if I see that it is third and long, but I notice that the lineman’s hand in front of me is a little bit pale, and I know he’s a little bit heavy in his stance, that tells my brain, “Okay, they might be running the ball here, or there might be something different, other than a five-step drop straight to… or seven-step drop to a long pass, or something like that.”
So, there’s more variables other than just the data. That’s just a tool. Ultimately, you see more down on the fields and you see the, I guess, micro-expressions that your opponent might make, and that could shift your decision. Again, there’s so many tricks of the trade. Older players, they gain more knowledge of this.
You can see a lot of players who have had success looking at things like this. You look at Aaron Donald, you look at guys like J. J. Watt. We call those “business decisions”. As a football player, you see something that, it looks pretty good. Just saying, man, sometimes you got to take that shot and see where it takes you. That’s just my thought.
Yeah. I think with cycling, again, it is a very data-driven sport, but at the same time, that’s not always everything. Sometimes, the data can be overwhelming. There’s always going to be days where you have bad days on the bike, and you just cannot keep the target power that your workout is calling for. Right? I have like days that pretty often, everyone does.
It’s days like that where I just don’t even really look at the power and the data as much, I just go more off a feel. I guess racing would also be another example, like how I said earlier, I don’t even look at my data, I never look down at my computer when I’m racing, unless it’s in a time trial. I also know people who do time trials and they don’t even look at their computer at all.
They just go purely off of feel. I have actually done that before. I would say I’m personally more of a rider who loves to look down and see where I’m at with my power during a time trial, but any race outside of time trialing, for me personally, I do not like to look at my data.
I don’t look at my power. I just look at it after the race, when everything’s said and done. Even, I’ve had days where my power hasn’t been that great and I’ve still somehow performed well. So, sometimes it’s just better to just not even really look at the power.
That’s refreshing to hear, that you have those days, Shayna, because I definitely have a lot of those days. Whether it’s trying to hit target power or target time to get up a climb, et cetera. Question for you, Eli. I know you watch a lot of game tape of both your opponents and yourself. Is it uncomfortable watching film of yourself? Because, I know I have a hard time watching back recordings of myself giving a talk or something. I’m just curious, how do you feel watching recordings of yourself playing football?
Honestly speaking, it’s one of those emotional roller coasters. If you watch yourself make a mistake you should have never made, it is the worst feeling. You’re like, “I knew I shouldn’t have done that. Like, that, this, is terrible. Like, I don’t want to deal with this,” but that’s the beauty of it. That’s what makes someone improve, is having to deal with looking at your mistakes, evaluating where you went wrong, and then improving upon it later on.
I will say, the competitor in me, when I see myself make a really good play, I’m like, “Man, I got to replay this play again, watch it again.” It’s for sure a good feeling. I wouldn’t use the word ‘uncomfortable’. I remember early on when I used to watch myself play, I’m talking my teenage days again, I did feel uncomfortable, but that’s just teen angst.
You just feel weird. You hear yourself talk, your voice is cracking. You see yourself move, you’re a little bit uncoordinated compared to, obviously, myself today. Again, yeah, I wouldn’t use the word ‘uncomfortable’. I would just say my emotions on what I’m looking at definitely vary, but I can’t let that distract from my goal in watching myself in the first place, and that’s to get better at what I do.
Just to reiterate what he was saying, I had my own personal experience actually just this past weekend, of watching myself during a race and seeing a mistake that I made. We were doing the Joe Martin Stage Race, and it was the last day, this past Sunday, in the crit, coming out of the last corner, and there was a moment of slight hesitation, and I was giving my teammate a lead out.
It was just three of us: me, my teammate on my wheel, then another girl from DNA on her wheel, who I knew that they were going to end up sprinting it out. But, my lead out was a little bit shorter than I had hoped for, just because I hesitated slightly. So, she had to go early.
Then for me, looking back on that video and knowing that it was live stream, everyone can see what happened, it was a great lead out, but me personally, I know I could have done better. So, yeah, I did feel a little bit of guilt over that. It was so close at the end, she ended up just getting edged out by the other girl.
I can’t place all the blame on myself, but at the same time, looking back, I’m like, “Man, who knows what the outcome could have been if I had just given it a little bit extra, and not hesitated at the very end,” but that’s how you learn. Going back, viewing yourself making mistakes, that’s really just how you ultimately learn.
A hundred percent. Yeah. Because, if you don’t see the mistake that you made and learn from it, you’re just going to keep making it again. So, yeah, I definitely understand that emotional roller coaster, because there are some moments where you’re like, “That was an amazing move,” but then you also have to watch the moments where you could improve, and learn from it.
Question, actually for both of you. I know that understanding and reading your opponents is super-important. Do you do any training on microaggressions or any form of micro-movements of other people, whether in a cycling crit race or on the field in football?
I wouldn’t call it a formal study, but it’s one of those things where you’re around it enough, and you can read people’s body language, and just get a feel for what they’re about to do. Right? Sometimes, I’ll get in a position, or do scout team [inaudible 00:23:12] and imitate my opponent.
Sometimes, I have to bend my knee a little certain way before I can go a certain direction, or I have to lean or shift my weight a certain direction before I have to move a certain direction. So, it’s like if I were to be the person in front of me, how would my body move? Or, how would I want my body to be positioned before I make a certain move?
Again, that, mixed with watching them play as they play, you get the experience over time to just catch certain things. You can kind of tell. In football, we have a play, you can call it a counter or a power, or something like that. We’ll have a guard pull. A pull is when he doesn’t block you in front of him, he just pulls away and goes behind the whole line of scrimmage, and blocks another guy on the end of the formation.
For that to happen, he has to lighten his hand up a little bit. He leans back, and we call that a Buddha stance, where he’s on his heels. He’s trying to prepare himself to move backwards instead of forward. It’s just little things that you gain knowledge on over time.
Yeah. I think with cycling in races, usually it’s fast-paced. You got to stay a hundred percent focused all the time. For me personally, I’m pretty much constantly scanning what’s going on around me, both to my side and what’s going on right in front of me. Even up the road, if there’s a move going up the road, or if there’s another group up the road. I’m constantly looking around, just being aware of what’s going on.
It’s the same like that in every discipline of cycling, I would say. Especially on the track riding with other people, especially in the team pursuit, you have to be super-aware of what’s going on around you. You’re literally inches or less away from your teammate’s wheel in front of you.
So, if somebody makes a move or makes a mistake, then that could mean a crash. It can mean multiple people crashing. You never know. For that reason, yeah, you have to be constantly scanning what’s going on around you. Even if it’s studying what other people are doing in other races.
Like, I love watching other races that are going on. I love watching replays of our races, just so I can get a better understanding of how the people were riding around me, both behind me and around me. Yeah. Definitely studying, always watching races, always learning. I can always learn more. Yeah.
Love that growth mindset from both of you. I do want to switch gears for a little bit, because we only have a few minutes left. I know that both of you are very proud Native American and First Nations people. First Nations, for those of you who aren’t unaware, it’s a preferred term in Canada for Native American people, First Nations. The two of you have co-founded the Dream Catcher Foundation, focused on empowering youth through sports. So, question for the two of you, what inspired you to create the Dream Catcher Foundation?
Yeah. Yeah, so this foundation, we started a few years ago back in 2018 with the help of an organization called Athletes And Causes. With both Eli and I being a member of the Dokis First Nation of the Ojibwe Nation, and myself being Oneida, part of the United Nation, and both of us being professional athletes as well, we both just feel such a strong inclination to give back to Native communities, particularly Native youth, in any way possible.
We both just felt that the best way to do that would be through creating this foundation, and doing nonprofit work through this foundation. As you said, basically our foundation aims to empower Native youth through sports, such as football and cycling. Also, we aim to provide sports equipment such as cycling bikes and helmets, and then camps as well. We hosted our first football camp a few years ago, back in Eli’s hometown of Ottawa, which was a major success.
Then we just recently, over the last couple of days, had a major bike distribution, or also called a bike rodeo, where we went out to the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations, which are part of the Seneca nation, and distributed over a hundred bikes to the Native youth in those areas. We talked about bike safety. We went on a ride in the parking lot through a little obstacle course with the kids, which was super-fun. Yeah, that’s one side of the foundation.
Then, the other side of the foundation basically aims to highlight the crisis of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls pandemic happening in North America, which is something that most people have never heard of. People have no idea this is even happening within our own country, as well as Canada. So, that’s the other part of our foundation, because we just both feel like it’s something that needs to be known, and that not many people actually know about.
Again, we’re on the topic of data and quantifiable information. It’s not necessarily just the number, for us. we just did the bike rodeo. It’s not about the number of bikes or how many dollars you can raise for a fundraiser. I feel like it’s much deeper than that. It’s about sending a message to the kids and that community, that we’re all in this together.
As much as there’s bad stuff happening in the world… you can turn on the TV and, readily, there’s going to be something in front of you that’s just really bad… it’s just letting people know that we’re in this together, and we have to band together to advance ourselves.
So, for me and Shayna, for us, it was being able to see the smiles on all these kids’ faces, getting a bike, or just getting it to ride. For her, they were seeing her in her kit, her pro kit, you just think about how huge that is. just being able to simply ride your bike with them, or teaching someone how to ride their bike, it’s just a very simple act that could potentially have an effect years down the road.
You could inspire one of these children to do something great, and they themselves want to do something for their community or for someone else. I think that’s the beauty of it, is as people, there’s far more than just numbers all around us, or strict information that follows a specific path. It’s that unpredictability that we have ingrained in ourselves, that I think is also something that we can use and potentially help each other with.
So, so far, this nonprofit work has been amazing. For the both of us, it doesn’t really feel like work. We love doing this. We love being able to do this with everyone. We enjoy sports so much that it just doesn’t feel like it’s much of an effort. We just do it because we want to, and we love it.
This is something that’s small as of right now, or relatively small, but you never know the impact you’re going to have on someone’s life down the road. That’s something that we’re striving to address. Every time we do something like this, or we do a camp, or you’re just simply interacting with someone, it could inspire them to do something. That’s pretty much our gig right now, and we’re loving it. It’s something we started back in 2018 when we were new to the whole pro sports world, and it’s something we do intend on keeping on doing down the road.
Yeah. We will have many more camps and fundraisers in the future. This is just the beginning, really. I feel like we’re still just getting started.
I love that you two are both able to combine your passion and giving back to your community. It comes across that you two are loving this, and I would love to get to know, how can our listeners help contribute to this cause as well?
Feel free to follow us on our social media. We have our foundation’s Instagram page. I can’t remember the exact handle, but it’s at @dream_catcher_fdn, fdn at the end, with a couple of underscores here and there. If you just type in ‘Dream Catcher Foundation’ on Instagram, it should pop up. We also have a Facebook page, and a website actually, that we just launched last year. Yeah.
If people can just follow us on social media, stay updated on what we’re doing, and potentially even help support our fundraising in the future, that would mean the world to us. But even if it’s just something as simple as sharing posts that we share on social media, to help us spread the word about what we’re doing, that itself really can go a long way.
We think that, obviously, knowledge is one of the biggest wealths you can acquire. For us, it’s being able to share that knowledge, share the statistics on the happenings in our community. Something even as simple as learning a little bit more about the issues that we talk about, is huge.
You don’t have to fork over… obviously, we’d love to be able to raise more money for these communities, but again, to us, it all even starts with just understanding each other. I think that’s where the root really stems from, for our path as a world, as people, to understand one another, is knowing about each other a little bit more.
Speaking of learning and stats, Shayna, you had mentioned that the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls pandemic, many Americans don’t know about it. Could you share a few stats about that?
Yeah. The statistics surrounding it are actually pretty depressing. Native American women are actually murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average, according to the Department of Justice. Some other statistics include, I think, it’s Native women, or three out of four Native women, experienced domestic violence or just violence in general at some point in their lifetime.
Then, homicide is actually the third-leading cause of death for Native women between the ages of 10 and 24. Also, I believe it’s 40% of human-trafficking victims identify as Native American, First Nation women. Those are just a few of the sad statistics, just goes to show how dire the situation is.
If you want to learn more, again, we do have our website, it’s dreamcatcherfdn.org. We have all sorts of information in there, workshops and different various statistics that are available on these issues. Yeah.
Well, thank you both so much for taking that first step in helping educate people on this. If I hadn’t known Shayna since my days in college, I wouldn’t have known that this was such an issue, but then doing further research, you realize just how far of a longstanding problem this has been. It’s not just a recent issue, it’s been a longstanding issue.
I want to be respectful of your time, since I know you both have to get back to your practices and your full-time pro careers, but I want to thank you both so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to join us today, and talk about what life as a pro athlete is like, the data that you use, and your work with the Dream Catcher Foundation nonprofit.
Thank you guys.
Thank you so much. We appreciate you having us.
It was awesome. Honestly though, I really like speaking about data. I think that’s something that, all the interviews or conversations we’ve ever done, I don’t think we’ve ever had that angle, and I think it’s really refreshing.
Mm-hmm. I agree.
I think that’s awesome. Again, if you ever feel like hitting us up, just want to talk about whatever else, we’re always open to have more conversation.
You can find both of them on Instagram @shaynapowless and @gravitytrain, right?