WASHINGTON, DC – Robert Doore has had to fight every day of his life.
The battlefield has changed from the days when his Blackfoot ancestors inhabited the Great Plains of Montana in the 1700s and 1800s, but the war continued into the 21st century as many Native Americans were forced to live in two worlds – one embracing their culture and tradition and the other pursuing success in the Western world.
“I’m firmly grounded in our culture, I’m firmly grounded in people and who we are and who I am as a true Pikuni Blackfeet, and I’ve never shied away from that,” Doore said. “A true warrior today can compete in both worlds. … I believed in myself and I never doubted what I believed I could become as an Indian, but also as a professional.
Doore’s legal name is Robert Ridesatthedoor, or Eee Tooks Dough Toop Pee, which translates to one who climbs out of the enemy’s gate. He recalls that the name was shortened “to be competitive in society at large”.
“Once we changed the name, life just got a little easier. The credit was approved, the bank loans were approved and I didn’t have to explain to people who didn’t understand our culture what the basis of my name was, ”he said. “But I still embrace the uniqueness of my name, but Robert Doore is the easiest way to combine two worlds.”
“Growing up on the reserve, we realized early on that not only did you have to master both worlds, but also be able to compete in both worlds,” said Doore’s father, Smokey Ridesatthedoor.
It was this competition that led Doore to one of the most important and rare jobs in North American sport as a front office manager in the National Football League.
‘Drive, determination and desire’: Robert Doore of Browning became a top NFL executive
Doore now resides in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, but grew up in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Like many children on the reserve, he dreamed of playing professional sport. His father was a coach in the community and was one of the staff that led Browning to his first State Class A Boys Basketball Championship in 1980.
“Robert always slept in the gym because we were there constantly,” Doore’s mom, Darnell Ridesatthedoor recalls.
The family was immersed in the sport all year round and Doore, among five children, embraced the competitive culture. He watched his older sisters and members of his extended family compete – including his uncle Doug Davis, who played on the Montana State National Championship football team in 1984. Doore quickly developed an obsession of his own.
He put on his helmet and football pads and walked the mile between the family’s house and the highway before training in the fall. And when one of Browning’s notorious snowstorms hit in the winter, he would snowmobile to the gym to practice basketball.
“My personal motto was: ‘dynamism, determination and desire’. In competition, the person who works the hardest is going to beat you, so no one was going to outdo me, ”said Doore, who had an exceptional career in high school in football, basketball, cross country and l ‘Athletics.
For a young Montana athlete, it’s hard to match the euphoria that accompanies Friday or Saturday nights on the basketball or soccer field.
At Browning, this feeling is heightened. “When I ran out of war caps in Browning, MT on the basketball court we’re famous for, one of the things that could never be equaled, or thought I would never be matched, was to run out on the field. yard with 5,000 people, ”Doore said, referring to the unmatched passion and intensity that is so pervasive on Montana reservations.
Doore hung motivational posters on the walls of his bedroom – which he moved into before his father could finish hanging the drywall as the family passed his three-bedroom home – and eventually became a fan of a football team when his father returned home from a trip. in Washington, DC The Washington Redskins wore a logo depicting Chief Two Guns White Calf.
“This is the community I grew up in, where he’s from, Two Guns White Calf,” said Darnell Ridesatthedoor. “Not only was it historic, but it was also more of a personal affair because it was people, real people that we know. … It was innate, it was pride and dignity.
Doore’s fandom in Washington was more than just manic fanaticism. He fell in love with the football team and he viewed their success as their success – not only because he idolized the players on the pitch, but because he felt the logo shed a positive light on his culture. For him, wearing this logo was a symbol of pride, courage and hope to contrast and combat some of the grim realities of life on the reserve.
“It’s no secret if you look at the statistics. Suicide rates are on the rise, drug and alcohol problems exist, small town politics are tough. Diabetes and some of the health problems associated with eating situations are very obvious and well documented. Murdered and missing women are a real problem there, at home and in the country in general, ”Doore said.
On November 28, 1992, this harshness hit Doore directly. Her adopted brother Scott Little Dog was shot and killed at a party in Browning.
“After that things changed a lot for Robert,” said Darnell Ridesatthedoor. “He got angry and he was upset, wanted revenge, the typical anger-heartache of any human being, to avenge Scotty.”
“It had a huge impact. As aboriginal people on the reserve, we face many deaths. Death is common, it’s everywhere, trials are common, far too young and far too early in life, ”Doore said. “But for me, I had a choice. I had the choice to follow a path that did not have a positive result because of his death, or I could try to heal. … I started to think about some of the impact he had on me and some of the dreams that we needed to be bigger than what the small town was and be able to have a positive impact, so I did the choice to go there first. “
The ancient Blackfoot passed down wisdom to future generations. One of their philosophies centers on the buffalo, which, unlike cattle, will turn directly into an impending storm. Buffalo, say the ancients, know the quickest way to weather a storm is to fight your way through the elements.
Like a buffalo turning into a storm, Doore bowed his head and went through his own trials after Little Dog’s death.
Doore admits to having failed – “I failed a lot,” he said, “but I had a choice to get up and keep moving forward or I could stop” – but he focused on his. education, graduated from Blackfeet Community College alongside his mother and eventually earned an MBA from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND
That – not his athletic traits or his determination on the football field – would ultimately be Doore’s path to the NFL.
In 2014, Doore became the director of customer experience and training camp with the Washington football franchise.
“I’m just a boy from Montana who dreamed big and wanted a career in sports, maybe first as an athlete, but it turns out the business side is where I go. ‘ve made my career, ”Doore said.
“The ultimate is when he called and he said, ‘Dad, I interviewed, and I was picked out of all the candidates to work for the Redskins,” said a proud Smokey Ridesatthedoor.
Doore was ultimately promoted to head of guest experiences at FedEx Field, home to the Washington football team. Essentially, Doore oversaw a team of thousands of staff responsible for the match day fan experience. He also used his platform with the franchise to educate people more about Native American history, culture, and sensibilities.
“Sharing our culture is great,” Doore said, “because you’re not going to find a more loving people, faster to love, embrace and fight for you, so that’s an education level, I think, in relation to ignorance and to being. bias. “
While on the Washington football team, Doore was one of the highest ranked Native Americans in the NFL.
“I had a dream of coming to the NFL as a professional, as part of a team, and the amount of work it takes for both, at that level or even in high school in Montana, matches it. And it’s just on a bigger scale, ”Doore said. “But I think about my roots all the time, I think every day about being in the stadium and I think where I’m from. I’m lucky to have unworthy blessings, really. … I look back and smile sometimes when I think of the crowd and where I’m from and the camaraderie that comes when you have 80 to 100,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs. All it’s Browning, MT, in a gym on a Friday night on a much larger scale.
Doore left the Washington football team and FedEx Field earlier this year to become president and certified management consultant at Chief Mountain Consulting, where he will focus on culture, diversity and inclusion.