The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
498 Pages | 6 x 9 | 45 b&w illus., 1 map
Most fans of women’s basketball would be startled to learn that girls’ teams were making their mark more than a century ago—and that none was more prominent than a team from an isolated Indian boarding school in Montana. Playing like “lambent flames” across the polished floors of dance halls, armories, and gymnasiums, the girls from Fort Shaw stormed the state to emerge as Montana’s first basketball champions. Taking their game to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, these young women introduced an international audience to the fledgling game and returned home with a trophy declaring them champions.
World champions. And yet their triumphs were forgotten—until Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith chanced upon a team photo and embarked on a ten-year journey of discovery. Their in-depth research and extensive collaboration with the teammates’ descendents and tribal kin have resulted in a narrative as entertaining as it is authentic.
Full-Court Quest offers a rare glimpse into American Indian life and into the world of women’s basketball before “girls’ rules” temporarily shackled the sport. For anyone captivated by Sea Biscuit, A League of Their Own, and other accounts of unlikely champions, this book rates as nothing but net.