This ramble started as a memory of the greatest basketball game ever played in the Minnesota State Tournament, the Wabasso Rabbits versus the Red Lake Warriors in 1997. The St.Paul Civic Center was packed with thousands of Native Americans in traditional garb, with drums and rattles, from all over the Midwest. The Warriors, an all tribal team, were trailing by 18 points with 4 minutes to go, when sophomore Gerald Kingbird took over and lit up the house with three point shots, taking the game into overtime. Red Lake's lack of depth eventually caught up with their legs and Wabasso won 113 to 117. One hell of a basketball game!
The sketch is Royce Kingbird, a Golden Age master dancer. His home, the Red Lake Rez is large, bigger than Rhode Island, and all tribally owned. After high school, Gerald Kingbird left the Rez for college, but later drifted back to Red Lake to teach high school. He was there in 2005, when there was a horrendous shooting at the Red Lake High School that left 10 people dead. It seemed to be a galvanizing event for the tribe. When I did a YouTube search on "Red Lake Kingbird", I found a number of powwow tapes and these are way better than even a great basketball game. Red Lake Anishinaabe. Go Warriors!
There are about 5000 people living in Red Lake and that many and more of the band living in Minneapolis. Damned if they don't look better and happier at Red Lake. Of course this is a celebration. We're all happier celebrating with family and friends.