Playing for the World

Moving Image
Created: 2009


Playing for the World
Summary: "In 1902, a unique combination of Native women came together at a Montana boarding school. They used the new sport of basketball to help adjust to a rapidly changing world. Their travels and experiences led them to places they never imagined. After winning the state championship, they barnstormed to the St. Louis World's Fair where they defeated all challengers and were declared the champions of the world. Along the way, they handled issues of race and gender with the same grace and skill they displayed on the court. They gained entry to mainstream society, all the while realizing they were always 'on display'. These were hard lessons learned that they carried for the rest of their lives. Ultimately, they played for something much larger than themselves.

"This storytelling is critical to documenting the experiences and accomplishments of Native women. There is a dearth of material on this subject. With limited portrayals, Native women become one dimensional characters in history. This program brings a fuller picture of Native women and how they struggled to maintain their identity. The show engages a wide audience and brings them together for a better understanding of a shared history.

"The documentary generated strong response as it was broadcast on PBS stations around the country. From the larger cities such as Boston and Los Angeles where this was a new untold chapter of history, to Native communities which received the story with a great sense of pride. The show provided a valuable bridge across these varied places."--2009 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: MontanaPBS

Persons Appearing: Tantoo Cardinal (Narrator)

Broadcast Date: 2009-02-15