The 38th Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) began on Wednesday, December 17 and will run through the evening of Saturday, December 20.
The event, held in Rapid City, began as a basketball competition but now includes various sporting events as well as cultural and academic events, all for students.
These events include a Lakota Language Bowl, an art show, a business plan competition, a hand game tournament, and more. A full list of events can be found on the Lakota Nation Invitational website.
Director of the Lakota Nation Invitational Bryan Brewer said, "The whole idea of the Lakota Nation is to showcase our students and we do that, we showcase our athletes, but also our students in cultural events, whether it be dance or doing other cultural things that are traditional, games, but also our academics are very important also," according to Black Hills Fox.
However, the LNI is not just a competition—it is also a chance for Lakota people to come together.
“Although it seems strange that our people have accepted the notion that a basketball tournament could, in fact, serve as the backdrop to one of our most vivid expressions of culture, identity, and sovereignty, an examination of the event is all that is needed to justify why it has come to encompass so much for us as Lakota people,” Brandon Ecoffey (Oglala Lakota) said, in an Indian Country Today article.