How Native Americans Made Basketball Their Own

In the Early 1900s, the Sport Offered a Rare Physical and Mental Refuge From Oppressive ‘Indian Schools’—and the Chance to Develop Distinctive Identities

Nowhere today are people more passionate about basketball than in Native American communities. Why?

The hoops seen outside most homes and gathering places on western reservations speak to basketball’s cultural significance for Native peoples. For them, the sport is more than a pastime. It has become a modern expression of indigenous identity and pride, and a glue that bonds families and tribes more tightly together.

It might seem peculiar that a sport invented by Dr. James Naismith, a white man, has become so dear to Native people, especially since their ancestors …

George Washington’s ‘Tortuous’ Relationship with Native Americans

The First President Offered Indians a Place in American Society—or Bloodshed If They Refused

There are certain things about the nation’s founding era that many Americans don’t want to see messed with. The Declaration of Independence, despite its inaccurate claims that King George had …

Was Wounded Knee a Battle for Religious Freedom?

By Clamping Down on the Indian Ghost Dance, the U.S. Government Sparked a Tragedy

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 appears in many history textbooks as the “end of the Indian Wars” and a signal moment in the closing of the Western frontier. …

The Faux “Sioux” Sharpshooter Who Became Annie Oakley’s Rival

By Reinventing Herself as Indian, Lillian Smith Became a Wild West Sensation—and Escaped an Unhappy Past

At about 10:30 a.m. on the morning of August 3, 1901, more than 100,000 people jostled to catch a glimpse of Frederick Cummins’ Indian Congress parade at the Pan-American …