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Arts & Life

The Early Basketball Heroes of Fort Shaw Indian School

University of Oklahoma Press

Some of the first basketball players to gain national attention for new sport at the turn of the 20th century were young women from an isolated government American Indian boarding school in Montana. They dominated teams from around the region and went on to be declared World Champions at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. But their triumphs were forgotten until a pair of women’s history scholars found a photo of the Fort Shaw Indian School team and wanted to know more about the young women.

After a decade of research, Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith published Full-Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School, Basketball Champions of the World.  It’s now out in paperback from University of Oklahoma Press. Peavey and Smith began their collaborative work in women’s history and biography in Bozeman, Montana. They’ve co-authored several books about the lives of women and children in the American West, including Women in Waiting in the Westward Movement, Pioneer Women, Frontier Women and Frontier House.