“Don’t open your story with a picture of an abandoned house.”
September 2, 2014 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Wyoming Indian High is located in Ethete, a tiny town of about 1,500 residents, in central Wyoming. The school itself is composed of approximately 200 students, mainly from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Reservation. Given the hoops mania, though, the gym is the largest in the state, capable of holding 3,000-plus rabid fans. That’s right. A bunch of Native American kids from the rez are the basketball kings of Wyoming. If you haven’t heard of this dominant team, you might know the area itself—the subject of consistently negative, reductive and often false representation(s) in the media, where life on the reservation is depicted as nothing but a sad, grim blight; and has served to reinforce all of the old prejudices about Native Americans."
posted by ChuraChura (16 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
And here I thought this was going to be about bad horror writing from the title -- what a wonderful surprise...thank you...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

More local story from 2013.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:51 PM on September 2, 2014

Reminds me of Sherman Alexie.
posted by miguelcervantes at 7:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile in Lapwai, a tiny town of about 1,140 residents on the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho, high school students will be taking Physical Education classes online.
posted by fredludd at 8:30 PM on September 2, 2014

Levy failure puts PE on the bench in Lapwai.

Good grief, am I ever naive. I assumed that the "levy failure" preventing PE classes in the linked article above was some sort of a physical breach; a dam-failure or something similar, resulting in a flood.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:52 PM on September 2, 2014

Why do I get the feeling that somehow, Daniel Snyder is going to find a way to make this story justify the name of his football team?
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2014

I actually thought the opposite. Reading this story made it obvious that Snyder will change the name. How can you not see how the Washington team name is so wrong after reading this?

(I predict he changes the name to the Washington Americans at the end of this season.)
posted by 724A at 9:47 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I feel like there should be a short mention of the other basketball powerhouse in the west... the Kirtland girl's basketball team, with 30 state championship appearances since 1979.

My brother was a coach for an opposing district for a while. Getting destroyed by Kirtland became a tradition.
posted by underflow at 10:30 PM on September 2, 2014

I got to experience a little bit of the grinding horror of disparaging media misrepresentation that Native Americans suffer and I understand very well how important it is for the community to correct half-truths. Iceland, after the 2008 financial crash, became a magnet for reporters seeking to tell a gritty story of a nation that destroyed itself building a golden calf. Some saw that reality didn't fit their preconceptions, and wrote a different story. But the stories that went big were usually stories written by journalists that tried to fit reality to their preconceptions. I remember one particularly bizarre story where the journalist said that in Reykjavík multiple Range Rover jeeps were blown up each day. These stories were infuriating.

Now we've got journalists who come to Iceland to write stories about a magical recovery and crowdsourced constitutions (there's no such thing). They're just as wrong, but at least they show us Icelanders in a good light. In other words, they're annoying, but not infuriating.

However, I can just about imagine what it must be like to live your entire life having journalists and documentary film makers depict your home as some kind of hell and your community as a vicious cycle. I would also distrust every journalist who showed up. But I would also hope this one would be able to correct the half-truths.
posted by Kattullus at 2:46 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

(I predict he changes the name to the Washington Americans at the end of this season.)

Washington Natives would be better.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:40 AM on September 3, 2014

I am originally from Wyoming and I've driven through the Wind River Reservation. It's an absolutely beautiful area.
posted by Librarypt at 7:24 AM on September 3, 2014

Washington Natives would be better.

True, but it wouldn't stop them from using the logo, which is also a point of contention. Not as badly as wahoo, obviously, but still.
posted by elizardbits at 7:45 AM on September 3, 2014

"Not as badly as wahoo"?
posted by nangar at 8:46 AM on September 3, 2014

The part about success being defined as leaving forever really hit me. Its just a way for society to tell people that their culture and parents values are worthless. I'm glad the writer spent some time on that, and on letting people tell him what their idea of success and community was.

The parents seem to have a really solid handle on the value of sports too, a supplemental activity, secondary to education.
posted by fshgrl at 12:33 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

fshgrl: The part about success being defined as leaving forever really hit me.

For whatever it's worth, I grew up in Riverton and not a lot of the people who grow up there get to stay. A place that that doesn't have very many options for successful careers, so even if leaving doesn't define success for you, it'll probably be the price you pay for it regardless.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:38 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

It a more like emigrating to a different country than moving cities for these kids though.
posted by fshgrl at 9:37 AM on September 5, 2014

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