RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — One of Rapid City’s biggest events of the year, the Lakota Nation Invitational, is underway at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
This is the 43rd year of the Lakota Nation Invitational. In 1976, they started out with eight basketball teams competing. Today, they have 16 girls and 16 boys teams in the tournament, but that’s not all.
“It started out with just basketball, but now it’s a lot more than that we have academic contests they compete. We have cultural events that are going every day,” Bryan Brewer, Founder of LNI said.
Activities include chess, an art show, workshops, and the Lakota Language Bowl.
“The first part of the Lakota Language Bowl is our introductions, we introduce ourselves, where we come from, our parents, our grandparents, our teachers, our school and our age,”7th grader Jasinda Ten Fingers said.
Then, they have a buzzer beater challenge where officials will read off a word in English and the students will translate that into Lakota.
“It makes me feel happy that so many young people are willing to learn the language and keep it alive,” Ten Fingers said.
“This is the only event where all the tribes come together. The students get to meet students from the other reservations so friendships are made here,” Brewer said.
Last year 2,500 students participated. This year even more people are involved and Brewer expects the numbers to keep climbing.
“It’s an opportunity for our students to get off the reservations, come out to Rapid City, Rapid City has been really good to us, they treat us good, it’s an educational experience for many of our students to come up here,” Brewer said.
Events are open to the public and will be going on every day through Saturday.