Chapter 13 follows the rise of Pine Ridge's own SuAnne Bigcrow, the star of her high school basketball team, and their successful bid for for the Class A South Dakota state championship. In the words of SuAnne's teammates and coach's, we learn that she was not only a brilliant athlete, but a person dedicated to her culture, who was humble and kind, but also asserted herself, who stood against injustice, and who was beloved by her peers.
Quotation: Dennis Banks, Aim Leader [on Lady Thorpes]:
"It’s really exciting to see kids like that pushing and excelling, but with incredible allegiance to each other. For me as an AIM leader it was great the way SuAnne and them were against racial slurs, taking a stand on their own, letting it be known they weren’t going to accept it. I became a big fan of Lady Thorpes basketball and went to a lot of their games, and my daughter, Chubs, became their mascot. She was about five years old at the time. SuAnne and another girl made outfits for her"
I think to Banks, SuAnne became as much of a symbol as a human being. Here is someone who spent most of his life campaigning for Native American civil rights, and here he is watching a community representative of his struggle: a team, The Lady Thorpes, like a tribal microcosm, playing against other better funded, and whiter teams, struggling together against racism and bigotry, sort of encapsulating the greater centuries wide struggle of his people. Then here he is watching them win, and I bet this success is no longer about sports or teams, but a sort of implied triumph over oppression. Now SuAnne becomes a figurehead of success and a symbol of hope, now it becomes easier to understand why she was valued so highly, by not only Dennis Banks, but by her the entirety of the Oglala Sioux.
Why was NBC wrong to title a segment about SuAnne's home "Tragedy at Pine Ridge" ?
Why do you think SuAnne was so popular?