By Mary Garrigan
But the educational sessions, cultural experiences and conference offerings that abound during the Lakota Nation Invitational this week have grown the annual sporting event into much more than what happens on the basketball court.
"At one time it was just basketball," said Bryan Brewer, LNI director.
No longer. Now it's also an art gallery, archery competition, powwow, wrestling matches and fashion shows. In fact, the largest team competition at the LNI tournament this year doesn't involve a basketball and two hoops, but traditional Native American hand games. "We have 40 hand game teams competing this year. That is now the biggest tournament at the LNI," Brewer said.
Yes, the LNI still brings 32 boys and girls basketball teams from 16 schools to Rapid City to compete for the tournament title, but its schedule is so packed with other activities, entertainment and competitions--not to mention the many meetings of affiliated tribal government groups--that it's impossible for even Brewer and the LNI's new, improved website to know about everything associated with the four-day event.