The Fives: The legend/myth of SuAnne Big Crow
"In his book "On The Rez," author Ian Frazier reports the story of a basketball game in the fall of 1998 between Pine Ridge and Lead in which fans were in a near frenzy, heckling the young Thorpe players by yelling epithets such as 'squaw' and 'gut-eater.' In the book, he also says some fans were waving food stamps while the school band joined in with fake-Indian drumming and a fake-Indian song.

It was at this point, according to Frazier, SuAnne Big Crow, one of the most recognized and beloved South Dakota athletes both "on" and "off" the reservation, stopped at center court, draped her warm up jacket over her shoulders and began a traditional dance and Lakota song that quieted the unruly crowd.

The account in Frazier's book was picked up and ran in a number of national magazines. The only problem is, it wasn't completely true. In fact, it's possible almost all of it wasn't.

Former Journal reporter Bill Harlan, who had a niece that played on the team. (My sister, Tracey, also played on that team, although she had little recollection of the game). Harlan took a keen interest in the story and began asking those who were at the game about it.

It turns out that Pine Ridge didn't play in Lead in 1988. Of course, that could be just a slip of the key stroke, because they did play there in 1987. But there was only one account of the incident, told years later upon Big Crow's death, and it appeared in the Lakota Times."

Get the Story:
The Fives: SuAnne Big Crow, the fans in Lead and On The Rez, a myth in the making [third item] (The Rapid City Journal 2/5)