Friday, February 23, 2018

All-American Indian Shootout buoyed through community support

Letter to the Editor

We thank you for joining us as we show our appreciation to the Native American student athletes this new basketball season of 2017-18.

This is the fifth year of assembling schools in Montana and nearby states with large Native American student enrollment to showcase this fast action type of basketball. The gathering of such schools in Billings for the All-American Indian Shootout started at the Shrine Auditorium in 2013 and has been moved to Rimrock Auto Arena, now marking the fourth year.

The first four years were sponsored by the Crow Tribe, but this year, this event is held by a group of volunteers called the All-American Indian Youth Organization with funds voluntarily contributed by area businesses. This new organization is comprised mostly of volunteers who started this action in 2013. We are proud to say the net proceeds from ticket sales are divided equally among participating schools.

We know the Indian ball players enjoy playing this game. We, the group of volunteers, have used this assembly of basketball teams and students as a vehicle to let them know we appreciate their talent, but also to tell them to live a clean drug and alcohol-free life during their school years.

The students are in the process of building an educational foundation, and we encourage them to use athletics and academia to be strong willed and successful. We want them to be successful not only on the basketball court and classrooms, but to continue this lifestyle through their young adult years to be responsible and respected citizens in our Native American Nations and community.

To join us in this re-enforcement of a drug and alcohol-free lifeway are an assembly of state government officers, tribal leaders and concerned volunteers who will be delivering talks to the student athletes during the grand entry of all teams at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 at the Metra.

Once again, we thank you for being part of this positive encouragement by your presence. May your upcoming holidays be joyful and filled with happiness.

Gordon Real Bird Sr.
President, AAIYO