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December 13, 2011 11:43 AM

Lakota Nation Invitational Starts Wednesday

rapid city, sd

High school basketball players from predominantly Native American schools are descending on South Dakota's Black Hills for Wednesday's tip off of the Lakota Nation Invitational basketball tournament.

The 35th annual tournament draws 16 girls' and 16 boys' teams.

It's part of a larger cultural event that draws thousands of Native Americans to Rapid City for an educational summit, a Lakota language bowl, a knowledge bowl, a business plan competition, an art show and a powwow.

Basketball legend Bill Russell is expected to make an appearance on Friday night, when games typically draw crowds above 7,000.

Tournament Director Bryan Brewer created the small Lakota Nation Invitational tournament on the Pine Ridge reservation in the 1970s with Native American teams out of Nebraska and Kansas. It has since moved to Rapid City.
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