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Opinion
Tim Giago: The Olympics of Indian basketball


"It started out 29 years ago as a tournament to bring American Indian teams together and prepare them for the long season ahead. It has gone where no one alive today ever thought it could go.

When the Lakota people hear the acronym “LNI” they know exactly what is meant. It means Lakota Nation Invitational and from that small beginning with eight teams in 1976 it has grown to the point that the 2005 LNI had 30 teams, 15 boys and 15 girls teams competing.

Back in 1976 the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota brought an abundance of fear and concern to the athletic directors of the non-Indian schools in Western South Dakota. They did not want their teams to travel to the reservation to play the Indian teams because rumors suggested that they would meet with violence. The rumor wasn’t true then and it isn’t true today.

Bryan Brewer and Chuck Cuny, two Lakota educators, decided to move the All Indian Tournament, as the LNI was known in its early years, to Rapid City and they hoped to invite white teams to play in the tourney in hopes of promoting better racial relations and understanding."

Get the Story:
The Olympics of Indian basketball (The Native American Times 12/19)

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