On Wednesday, November 20th, we had the great opportunity and pleasure to meet one of Nantes’s volleyball player : Lauren Schad. Here’s what’s important to know about her.
Lauren Schad has been playing for VB Nantes for 3 years now. She started by playing Basketball in Highschool but ended up in the volleyball team due to her height (1m88).
It was not what she had planned to do but with time she grew to love volleyball. The first professional team she played in was in Clermont-Ferrand and was then recruited by Nantes.
She loves the city of Nantes as well as the team she is in, that’s why she has planned to stay for now.
To start a career in Volleyball,France was her first choice, because there is no International volleyball team in the USA. On top of that, the competition gives Lauren a great stage to put forward a cause that is very dear to her : The Native Americans’ fate.
In fact, Lauren’s both parents are Native Americans. More precisely from a tribe in Dakota named ‘’Lakotas‘’, consequently, she grew up between American and Native’s culture, from her city to reservations. Thanks to that she speaks a little bit of the idiom (enough to present herself).
Some native symbols are now very important to her, enough to tattoo them on her skin. As a matter of fact, tatoos, in Natives’ culture, are very important ,they are either like protecting amulets or they represent an important time in the person’s life.
The tribe Lauren is from is animist (like a lot of Native tribes), in other word they believe that every natural thing is a spiritual being. So she decided to tattoo a bear, an eagle and a bison on three of her fingers. She explained that the Bison symbolizes prosperity because, in the past, Natives were able to survive thanks to the animal’s meat, bones and skin.
Her work as a volleyball player is great for her, because she gets the opportunity to talk about injustices a lot of Natives are subject to. Notably with her sponsorship with Nike (which isn’t Nike strictly speaking but a Native division) which redistributes money to reservations to help Natives live and thrive.
Moreover, she can spread messages through volleyball games with for instance, a red hand painted on her mouth that symbolizes the Natives’ voices who are not being heard. In fact she was told it was too political (as players are supposed to stay neutral), although she assures it is not a political movement.
As a consequence, Lauren decided to use red sticky bandages to write MMIW, which stands for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Which is an issue concerning indigenous women whose rate of femicide and rape is ten time higher in native communities than in any other parts of the USA or Canada.
To conclude, meeting Lauren Schad was an amazing opportunity to learn about Natives’ culture and compare it to what we had learnt during class. Moreover it was interesting to learn about the problems those communities encounter, and it is amazing that Lauren uses her statue of international volleyball player to spread the word and inform people about Native communities’ issues and we can really feel that she’s passionate when she talks about it.
Camille PEAULT – SIA student 2nd