Full Court Quest – Montana Basketball History

At The History Museum in Great Falls you can see a very unique display of the Fort Shaw, MT all Indian girls basketball team.

In the early 1900’s there was an Indian boarding school at Fort Shaw, Montana. Writers Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith researched not only the school, but the Indian girls basketball team that was formed there. Ultimately, this basketball team went on to play at the 1904 World’s Fair held in St. Louis, MO. They became Champions of the World.

I haven’t read the book but I attended the preview of the exhibit and unveiling of the book. Many Indian elders who were related to the girls on the team also attended. It was very touching to see them honored.

One room at The History Museum has copies of photos of the team and their games. They also have some artifacts which are well displayed.

When I saw the “basketball” they used, I wondered how you would ever get it to bounce. It looked like an overly large, squishy ball. The shoes displayed were definitely not Nikes!

The exhibit is a wonderful tribute to a team of girls who overcame much adversity, not only in school, but in life in general.

I’ve seen the video that partners with the Full Court Quest book. There are interviews with surviving elders and family members of the girls on the team. It also has other information about the Indian boarding school.

Jim Meinert, executive director of the History Museum, toured our group through the museum and had so much information about the exhibit. He worked with the producer of the video, former Great Falls resident Craig Wirth, and it was obvious that historic and accurate research was critical to this exhibit. This photo shows Jim and other museum visitors viewing the trophy from the St. Louis World’s Fair.

It’s well worth your time to visit The History Museum. While you’re there, wander through the well-stocked gift shop and purchase a copy of Full Court Quest.


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