Hustle is Talent
By RHONDA BIGOVICH, Two Rivers Tribune
Joe Marshall is a man with a mission: to help initiate a stronger and healthier community. He says that it begins with strengthening the mind, body and spirit.
“Your life is improving because you are improving it,” Marshall said.
He serves as a community advocate, striving to bring balance, where there is imbalance.
Marshall is in his seventh year of teaching at Hoopa Valley High School (HVHS). This year he has decided not to coach high school basketball, he has a vision that evolves to something bigger.
Bradley Marshall, his uncle, is one of his biggest supporters. He said that his nephew has always been active and that it is his personality and his interaction with people stand out the most.
“They weren’t allowed to be bored, because they knew there was always something to do,” Bradley Marshall said. “So he would always find something to do before he was given something to do, chores.”
During his childhood, Marshall camped out in dance camps.
Marshall said, “I used to go camp with the ‘Toe’ family, my neighbors; they would take me down to Sregon Village down in Pecwan.”
“During the dance times; brush dance, white deer skin dance or jump dance,” Marshall said. “I would help around camp.”
It is where his belief system about living correctly was developed. Knowledge is culture. We must retain our culture through our knowledge.
“I would ask my mom to take me down to Katamin, to the Karuk Village, where my family comes from,” Marshall said. “I would stay there for weeks at a time.”
In school, Marshall was extremely athletic. He was apart of the Northern California Championship Tournaments for 1999 and 2000, in both his junior and senior years.
It was the furthest any team has made it in the regionals.
The coach that got them there, Marion ‘Inker’ McCovey, said, “He was a very hard worker and he listened to everything I used to tell him. He fulfilled his goals as a basketball player.”
Marshall said, “I want to make a difference.”
This was the plan straight out of High School.
He graduated in 2000, and was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. This scholarship is based off of Grade Point Average (GPA) and community involvement.
“I was involved with many things during my college years,” Marshall said. Although a bit modest, he confessed that he was nominated man of the year for 2003-2004.
And though he was nominated man of the year, he speaks with more pride about the fish dam he helped build at Hostler Field with Salish Jackson and handful of others.
“I wanted to go back to Hoopa High to teach and coach basketball,” Marshall said.
This is what he did after he graduated college. For the last six years, he coached the HVHS basketball team.
He led a very successful team in 2012; they went to the Little Four Championship and then took third place in the North Coast Championships. The team played hard, and had a lot of fun.
A basketball player that Marshall coached, Logan Ferris said, “Joe was a great coach. A lot of the time we would almost forget that he was our coach at all because of how much fun we would have.”
Ferris said. “But when it came down to it, he could be serious as could be. He was a great coach and a good bro.”
He felt a shifting in his future goals. His college degree was in Social Science, he is a history teacher at HVHS now, and he takes his job serious.
Although its quiet different from teaching weight training class or coaching basketball.
“Once I started working here at HVHS, I started to expand my horizons,” Marshall said. He loves his job working with the kids, but there is a bigger picture.
Marshall married his high school sweetheart, Nelia McCovey, in 2004. They have two children, a boy and a girl ages two and three.
“He is such a good guy,” Nelia McCovey said about her husband. “He is passionate about everything he does.”
First Coach, then father in-law, Marion ‘Inker’ McCovey, said, “He is a very good son-in-law, he has given me two grandchildren.”
“He is a hard worker,” McCovey said. “He takes care of his family, I couldn’t have asked for much more.”
Growing up he had a very supportive family: his Mother and his mother’s husband Leroy and Teresa Cyr, then his father and his father’s wife Emo and Darla Marshall.
“They have always helped me shape my interests,” Marshall said.”My uncle has always been a mentor in life and in ceremony.”
Bradley Marshall said, “We were brought up to work for whatever we had, he got that from both sides of the family.”
“Joseph was taught to not ever burn bridges,” Bradley Marshall said. “You don’t ever know when you might need to ask someone for help.”
The Warrior Institute has been founded in 2010 it is affiliated with the seventh generation fund. With this program he aims to strengthen his pupils with cultural, traditional skills.
He stresses that through exercise – healthy ways of living and setting nutritional values – you can change your mind set, and have a more positive outlook on your life and your children’s lives.
It starts with we put inside our bodies, the exercise we do daily, where we set our mind state at and spirit wellness.
“The Warrior institute is not just an athletic development,” Marshall said. “It is a non profit for building healthy leadership for boys and girls.”
It serves as an institute of learning for developing strong healthy people, who show warrior qualities in all fields; not just war, or fighting physical battles.
“The idea is to develop genuine people, who branch out to be business men or woman, teachers, and lawyers,” Marshall said.
“To fight for social justice,” Marshall said. “The community is like a boat. If we have holes in our canoe, and we don’t fill them, we are going to sink,” Marshall said.
“We can have local people fight for all the things that are important to us,” Marshall said. “Like our water rights.”
Part of the Warrior Institute is the CrossFit section. The Hoopa Valley Tribe donated space at the Rodeo Grounds and the building has been remodeled into a gymnasium.
Every Monday-Thursday at 6am in the morning, Marshall runs a CrossFit class for a reasonable fee. Students have access to an exercise group, and a physical trainer.
Marshall is a trained and certified as a L1 CrossFit trainer; he stays up to date on all new information pertaining to the sport.
Lila ‘Twids’ Jackson, one of the longest members of the CrossFit class has always been involved in sports since she was younger.
“I still wake up sore everyday,” Jackson said. “It feels like I have my own personal trainer.”
“I wish more people would join,” Jackson said. “He is a good trainer, he knows his stuff.”
Rene Almodovar, another student, said, “Joe continues to challenge me.”
“He is thorough, he is constantly improving, and he always keeps updated on his style of teaching,” Almodovar said.
Nelia Marshall said, “When you work out with other people, like in groups; you create friendships, and that makes you want to keep coming back.”
Marshall has developed a five year plan for his Warrior Institute. He is seeking educated motivated people, with a good attitude, to help expand.
He wants to open a CrossFit for younger children ages 5-7, and work with them so that they learn to work hard early.
“Not just for our family,” Nelia Marshall said. “He wants this for the entire community.”
“He loves to bounce his ideas off of me,” She said. “Everyone can come up with them but it is another thing to do what you talk about, and he does.”
The children could learn how to garden, and how to create their own foods to live on more natural sustenance.
“The idea is then to draw in the whole family,” Marshall said. “The wellness of the community is the overall goal.”
“I am looking for an A Team,” Marshall said. “More individuals to help train CrossFit classes, and I want to help provide jobs for students coming home from college.”
Then cultural ceremonies are always a priority for him. He won’t miss one if he can help it.
Today, he still hangs out around the camp fires. He is more distinguished now, and drives his own truck to bring wood to the camps.
“I try to be a good person, and a leader,” Marshall said. “Being humble is something I strive for.”