Red Cloud Students Excel at the 43rd Annual Lakota Nation Invitational



Girls BB 2018



The Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) might look like a typical high school tournament, but its history tells a deeper story. Over 40 years ago, when the first LNI took place, many non-reservation high schools would not host or play Native American teams. In 1977, Bryan Brewer, the director and founder of Lakota Nation Invitational and former president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, decided to organize the “All-Indian Tournament,” a basketball competition on the Pine Ridge Reservation that would allow Native teams across western South Dakota to showcase their talent.

2018 Boys Bball

In just a few years, the event became a tremendous source of pride for Native youth and communities across the region. It moved to Rapid City in 1979 to accommodate rising numbers of participants, families and fans. Today it engages teams from nearly 40 high schools in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. LNI has grown into a four-day event that brings together more than 2,500 student-athletes from on and off the reservation to compete in sports from basketball to wrestling to archery. And today, LNI is about more than athletics, including contests in art, language, and poetry, as well as a college fair and a business plan competition for aspiring entrepreneurs.



LNI Handgames Opening Song from Red Cloud Indian School on Vimeo.


This year, Red Cloud students brought their best to the competition, after months of practice and preparation. In athletics, the girls’ varsity cross country team took first back in their competition, which took place in September during warmer weather. The boys’ basketball team took third place in the competition, with senior Ale Rama recognized during one game for making his 1000th point in his high school career. In the archery competition, Red Cloud high school student Charlize Pourier took home second place, and Red Cloud’s chess team earned a third-place win.

The Lakota Language Bowl has become a major highlight at LNI, and all of Red Cloud’s teams excelled in their grade-level competitions. The high school competitors took home first and third-place wins, as did the middle school teams, from grades 6-8. The fourth-grade team took home first place, and Red Cloud’s youngest competitors, in the first-grade immersion classroom, earned second place.

Language Bowl Winners Underclassmen

But perhaps most powerful of all for Red Cloud students was the sense of community that the competition instilled in them. As SaMa'lea I'tala ‘20, a junior at Red Cloud, said, “"It's really awesome for all of Oceti Sakowin to be together as one because it has been so long and for us all to be united, [it] makes everyone really happy.”

LNI Student Art show 2018




Photos © Red Cloud Indian School


Share This Story


Want to receive more stories like this?




Meet Our Seniors!

Red Cloud Graduate Leads New BBC Radio Documentary

Celebrating Fr. George!

A Pastoral Journey