Basketball Comes to Fort Shaw Indian School (pt. 1)


Members of the Fort Shaw Indian School girls' basketball team. From left to right front: Genie Butch, Belle Johnson, Emma Sansaver. Back: Nettie Wirth, temporary coach Jesse McCallum, Katie Snell, Minnie Burton.  Frank A. Behymer. Missouri History Museum. Public domain.
Members of the Fort Shaw Indian School girls' basketball team. From left to right front: Genie Butch, Belle Johnson, Emma Sansaver. Back: Nettie Wirth, temporary coach Jesse McCallum, Katie Snell, Minnie Burton. Frank A. Behymer. Missouri History Museum. Public domain.

The Fort Shaw Indian School was part of a boarding school system designed to make Native American students conform to white culture. In a surprising twist, it also boasted a champion women’s basketball team.

Please excuse Tracy's error: Basketball was first developed in Springfield, Massachusetts, not Springfield, Connecticut.

Tracy's Research:

  • Twiggs, John, director. “Playing for the World.” Co-produced by Alison Perkins. Narrated by Tantoo Cardinal. Montana PBS. http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/1430384159/
  • Miller, J.R.. "Residential Schools". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Canada, 2012. Web. 11 Oct 2012. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools/
  • Flowers, Darryl L. “Fort Shaw Celebrates Sesquicentennial On Sunday.” Fairfield Sun Times. 8/8/2017. http://www.fairfieldsuntimes.com/news/article_e57e4492-7c87-11e7-8af9-0f3b2c6ed460.html
  • Nasmith, James. “Dr. James Naismith's Original 13 Rules of Basketball.” https://www.usab.com/history/dr-james-naismiths-original-13-rules-of-basketball.aspx
  • Springfield College. “Where Basketball was Invented: The Birthplace of Basketball.” https://springfield.edu/where-basketball-was-invented-the-birthplace-of-basketball
  • Missouri Digital Heritage. “Louisiana Purchase Exposition: The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.” https://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/mdh_splash/default.asp?coll=muellis
  • Missouri Historical Society. “The 1904 Worlds’ Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward.” http://mohistory.org/exhibits/Fair/WF/HTML/Overview/page3.html
  • Allen, Greg. “'Living Exhibits' at 1904 World's Fair Revisited.” NPR. 5/31/2004. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1909651
  • University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department. “Progress Made Visible: Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904.” http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/fairs/louis.htm
  • Montana Women’s History Project. “Champions: The Girls of Fort Shaw.” 4/3/2014. http://montanawomenshistory.org/champions/
  • McNeel, Jack. “Before Schimmel: The Indian Women Who Became Basketball Champions.” Indian Country Today. 10/27/2013. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/history/events/before-schimmel-the-indian-women-who-became-basketball-champions/
  • Farrell, Brenna. “Photos: Before and After Carlisle.” Radiolab. 1/29/2015. http://www.radiolab.org/story/photos-before-and-after-carlisle/
  • Marr, Carolyn J. “Assimilation Through Education: Indian Boarding Schools in the Pacific Northwest.” University of Washington. https://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/marr.html
  • Peavey, Linda and Ursula Smith. “World Champions: The 1904 Girls’ Basketball Team from Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School.” Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Winter 2001. http://montanawomenshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Peavy-Linda-and-Ursula-Smith-World-Champions.pdf
  • Official Report of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of Charities and Correction (1892), 46–59. Reprinted in Richard H. Pratt, “The Advantages of Mingling Indians with Whites,” Americanizing the American Indians: Writings by the “Friends of the Indian” 1880–1900 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973), 260–271. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/4929/
  • Bear, Charla. “American Indian School a Far Cry from the Past.” Morning Edition. 5/13/2008. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17645287
  • Bear, Charla. “American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many.” Morning Edition. 5/12/2008. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16516865
  • Pember, Mary Annette. “When Will U.S. Apologize for Boarding School Genocide?.” Indian Country Today. 6/20/2015. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/first-nations/when-will-us-apologize-for-boarding-school-genocide/
  • PBS. “Indian Country Diaries.” http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/
  • Peavy, Linda and Ursula Smith. “Full-court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World.” University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. 2008.

Topics in this Podcast: racism, sports history, entertainment history, Native American history, 20th century, 19th century, Fort Shaw basketball