Warriors were lauded by the Jocko Valley and Flathead Reservation
community for their athleticism and anti-suicide stance.
ARLEE The Jocko Valley folks, as well as folks from throughout
the Flathead Indian Reservation, congregated in the Arlee Community
Center Sunday to honor the accomplishments of the Arlee Warriors
basketball team, that just won the second consecutive to
boot boys state basketball championship in Arlee High School
Approximately 125 people turned out for the event that featured
a Scalp Dance the first time it has been done in 150 years,
according to Shandin Pete who led the procession as well
as gifts and a Black Lake Drum honor song for the Warriors and a
feed for all.
lady Scalp Dancers and male hand drummers face off during
the Scalp Dance.
The Scalp Dance began the festive days events with Shandin Pete
leading an all-male hand drum procession followed by female dancers
"These young Warriors have come home from a victory that we
celebrate," Emcee Pete said. "That's what this is all about, the
old ways, the cultural ways."
Pete said the Scalp Dance hadn't been done for 150 years and
addressed folks who might be concerned about its use to honor basketball
players now. He said it was okay to take "advantage of the platform"
to honor the Arlee Warriors basketball accomplishments as well as
their anti-suicide message with the Scalp Dance. "We will long remember
"These guys are all young men now," Arlee Warriors coach Zanen
Pitts told the all-ages crowd who jettisoned any Sunday plans they
may have had to be at the honoring the original honoring
scheduled for Friday was postponed due to a death Rest in
Peace, Jiggs in the Jocko Valley community.
The young men Pitts was referring to were, of course, the Montana
State C Tournament champions but more importantly addressing the
suicide issue with the recent anti-suicide video produced by videographer/photographer
Jordan Lefler in cahoots with Pitts and the Warriors.
The team released the video on Facebook the first day of the
State C Tournament in Butte. Within hours of its release, it went
viral on the Internet and has been viewed by millions of people
worldwide since its release.
lady Scalp Dancers reach out and touch a pair of Warriors
Greg Whitesell and Darshen Bolin.
Pitts said it was just a tip of an iceberg on what the young
Arlee Warriors could do and he challenged them to work for the betterment
of those yet to come and to shine a light on the positives in life
and not dwell on the negatives that are a part of life, and can,
depending upon the person and situation, lead to suicide attempts
or suicide. "I am grateful and humbled to be a part of this family,"
he said. "It takes a family to raise boys like this and we are all
a part of this family, a part of this community."
Pete echoed Pitts on the community of family. "Success is not
just these guys but you who witnessed the success of these young
men, all of you participants are part of this," he said, adding
that the generation the Warriors are part of are coming to age and
are the future leaders.
"I want to extend a 'Thank you' from the Tribal Council, especially
for the video you did," said Arlee District Representative Shelly
Fyant. "You brought honor to the whole community, to your family,
tribe and nation."
Brian Lipscomb, CEO of Séli Ksanka QÍispé
Dam, presented the Warriors team and staff with gifts from the tribal
membership-owned hydroelectric facility.
Following the gifting, the Black Lake Drum performed an honor
song in recognition of the Warriors on- and off-court accomplishments.
Then it was time to break bread.
FYI, the Arlee Scarlets won the school's first state
basketball championship in 1979 with a 45-17 victory over Granite
County High School.
Arlee, Montana Warriors are back-to-back Montana Basketball