Opinion | Sports

Brandon Ecoffey: Tournament shows hope of the Lakota people

A game from the 2013 Lakota Nation Invitational. Photo from Facebook

Brandon Ecoffey shares the power of the annual Lakota Nation Invitational in South Dakota:
Although it seems strange that our people have accepted the notion that a basketball tournament could, in fact, serve as the backdrop to one of our most vivid expressions of culture, identity, and sovereignty, an examination of the event is all that is needed to justify why it has come to encompass so much for us as Lakota people.

What takes place at the Lakota Nation Invitational could be used as a primer on who we are as Lakota people in this modern day and age. As a proud people, we encourage our children to participate in the language bowl this week in a celebration of the power of our desire to continue to see and speak of this world through our own cultural framework. As a politically inherent people, our community and tribal leaders convene this week to help rebuild our nations and assert our sovereignty through acts of diplomacy with other indigenous nations. And, as a spiritual people, we openly pray and weep together during a yearly wiping of the tears ceremony that takes place on Friday night.

Most important, however, is that we are a people of hope. For many of us Lakota people basketball is a place where our hope is unhinged. The game brings us together as a family. It is love. It is who we are. On the court our children play with courage and compassion, for community and family, and at its most basic level, for love. Hope and love is who we are. At the Lakota Nation Invitational we come together as relatives to not only express this hope and love but to showcase it as well.

Get the Story:
Brandon Ecoffey: The Love of the Game and the Hope of the People (Indian Country Today 12/18)

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