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‘Treated different’: Biased reffing hurts Native youth

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‘Treated different’: Biased reffing hurts Native youth

Editor’s note: This story is part of three-part series on perceived anti-Native bias in high school basketball in Montana.

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Rocky Boy head coach Adam Demontiney encourages his team after a steal in this 2017 file photo.


“It’s kind of sad that in practice they have to tell us that the refs may be after you this week,” said former Rocky Boy player Benji Crebs, who is Chippewa Cree.

Players on the Rocky Boy High School team show their frustration after a ref makes a controversial call in a 2021 game against Malta. The game still reverberates in Montana high school basketball circles more than two years later. (Video provided by Jolene Standing Rock).

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Wade Davies, a professor in Native American studies and history at the University of Montana, stands for a portrait at the Payne Family Native American Center on Feb. 7. Davies teaches classes about the history and involvement of Indigenous peoples in sports.

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Buddy Windy Boy is seen in this provided photo.

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Fans of all ages cheer for the Lodge Grass Indians during the semifinal game against the Rocky Boy Northern Stars during the state basketball games in Butte last Month.

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Browning head coach Daryl Croff talks to his team during a timeout during the girls semifinal basketball match between Browning and Frenchtown at the MHSA Western A Divisional Tournament at Ronan High School, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023

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Sienna Speicher, a guidance counselor at Browning High School, is pictured. 

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A sketch with a drawing of a basketball player with "Rez Ball" written at the top is on display at UM Native American history professor Wade Davies' office at the Payne Family Native American Center on Feb. 7.