In its tenth installment, Wisconsin Media Lab introduces Mark Antonio Daniels Jr., who dreams of being a professional boxer.
To help make that dream come true he trains at the Forest County Potawatomi Boxing Club (FCP) under the guidance of his father, Mark Daniels Sr.
Mark Jr., an enrolled member of the Forest County Potawatomi who also has Menominee descent, lives in Crandon, Wisconsin. He has been competing in amateur boxing competitions, like the Golden Gloves, since he was 11.
“It’s always about survival, it’s about being disciplined,” Mark Jr. says in the video. “You have to take those and bring them into your lifestyle.”
American Indians and boxing go way back in Wisconsin. Members of various tribal communities have won championships at the regional, state, national and military levels. FCP competes with boxing clubs across Wisconsin, whether they are Native or non-Native.
The sport of boxing gives youth in the community an extracurricular activity outside of school. For some, it could be the only athletic program available.
The FCP started in an old tribal hall and has at times had up to 60 members. Wisconsin Media Lab points out that boxing is a test of skill, courage, bravery, endurance and respect for an opponent, much like a warrior in battle.
“We may not be the warriors that we were back then but we’re still warriors in our own way—we’re still fighters,” Mark Jr. says. “I box for my people, not only Potawatomis, all Natives. I fight for them, I fight for my kids, I fight for my dream. I fights for a reason to get up everyday.”