Engaging Acrimony: Performing Lakota Basketball in South Dakota

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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The Oglala Lakota basketball teams of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are one of the most competitive programs in the state of South Dakota. They are, however, competing for state honors in one of the most racist climates in the country. My ethnographic study looks at how the Lakota navigate these perilous waters. Using Turner’s view of performance; and Scott’s theories of cultural resistance, I have characterized Lakota basketball as ‘engaged acrimony.’ Teams representing subaltern communities may use sport to carve out spheres of resistance that force those socially more power communities to grudgingly acknowledge the momentary reversal of the social order. Additionally, in these symbolic victories the Lakota craft narratives of victory that fuel cultural pride and further their resolve to withstand the racist climate they live in.

The author is with the Department of Sociology-Anthropology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Address author correspondence to Alan Klein at a.klein@neu.edu.
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