BOX ELDER – The Box Elder Lady Bears took the floor for the State C girls basketball tournament last weekend in Butte with more than just basketball on their mind.
Members of the team sported red and pink ribbons in their shoelaces to represent the voices in their community they believed needed to be heard.
“A lot of girls talk about things that motivate them. The pink ribbon — we’ve got family members with cancer, and we wanted to support those family members,” Box Elder head coach Joel Rosette said. “The red ribbon, that’s for missing and endangered indigenous women.”
Findings have shown that American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. According to a national study authorized by Congress, homicide was the third-leading cause of death among Native American females aged 15-34.
“We have a lot friends and family we know that have been missing,” Rosette continued. “We wanted to make sure we support that cause and make sure people are aware that it’s a problem. We wanted to make sure, as a women’s team, that we’re supporting those efforts as Indian women.”
First-round hero Nikayla Anderson felt the Bears were playing for all Native American women when they took the floor.
“We have (these) red and pink shoelaces for indigenous women for Native Americans. We were playing for each other, but we were playing for them, too,” Anderson said.
“Missing and murdered indigenous women and breast cancer is a big thing around our reservations all across the United States,” State C MVP Lillian Gopher stated. “We felt like they really need to be heard, so we showed them off on our shoes and let it be known.”