I ran across a nice article on Haskell Indian Nations University an NAIA school located in Lawrence, Kansas. As the title of the school would indicate its mission is to assists Native American’s from through out the country in receiving a quality education. While I do not believe the school is a Native American only school, the vast majority of its students, though, are from the American tribes through out the country.
This article was of interest to me for two reasons. One it plays a brand of basketball that is prevalent on most of the Native American communities across Montana which I have always loved. The second is that it answers a question that I was pondering earlier this year. What ever happened to former Browning /East Glacier star D.J. Fish?
I knew out of high school Fish signed with Montana State – Billings, but as far as I know he never played any significant minutes for them. Fish enrolled at Haskell Indian Nations University this year and had an immediate impact on the team. Fish started all 28 games he that he played in this season leading the team in scoring (12 p/g), and rebounding (7 r/g) as a sophomore. He also averaged 3 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 44% from the field, 25% from three point range and 56% from the free throw line. For his efforts Fish was named an all Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference honorable mention team. Fish was a great Montana high school basketball player at Browning and it is great to see him pursuing basketball and his dreams at the college level.
Here is a quote from the article:
The players at Haskell are a guiding light to an oasis, an opportunity to escape the reservation while still living among other Natives.
“When I was coming out of Montana, I was still pretty well known and I’m doing well, still going to school,” said D.J. Fish, a 6-foot-5 forward from East Glacier. “It shows people that you can leave and be able to stay a while and actually do it. If you see somebody else do it, you know you can do it.”
The problem for Juneau is getting the players to take the initial leap.
Many Native American players are ill-prepared for life off the reservation. Some stay for family, others want to avoid the why-would-you-go-there scorn of their people. Others don’t have the educational background to continue on to college.
It really is a great article and you should check it out here.