Basketball has played a role for Indigenous peoples since first introduced, and this is important to highlight becuase the sport represents our resliliency and adaptability .                       

Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a 22-year-old senior at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, studying English and Media Studies and hoping to pursue a career in broadcasting, audio, and print journalism. With a passion for filmmaking, sports, and her Chickasaw and Pawnee cultures, she is committed to telling the stories of Native people.


Reclaiming Basketball

The Story of basketball in Native Communities is a Symbol of resilience. 

Basketball was introduced to Native youth during the time of the federal boarding school era, when government institutions attempted to erase Native culture and assimilate Native people into white society. However, Native people took basketball and made it their own, integrating it into the culture and using the sport as a symbol of perseverance.

Stories of Sport Celebrate Native Resilience

Carrie will create a 20-minute documentary that explores the role of basketball in Native communities and how, despite a darker history, it now fuels resilience. By interviewing historians and elders, and following Native athletes in their communities, Carrie will shed a light on the history of basketball in Native communities, highlight the stories of Indigenous athletes, and celebrate how basketball has impacted Native culture.

“The Indian Boarding Schools cast a shadow on the backs of our people, but basketball is a way that light is puncturing through for many. Our communities deserve to be celebrated, and this documentary will be educational and put a spotlight on Native stories.”

“In my Chickasaw culture, there are people called “Keepers of the Flame.” These individuals learn the tribe’s stories through the oral tradition and carry them to the next generation. Without preservation of our stories, the fire will extinguish. I don’t just want to be a Keeper. I want to softly and gently blow on these flames to make the fire rise.””

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