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Red Cloud Indian School at Lakota Nation Invitational Tournament

January 24, 2023

Red Cloud Indian School

Sports are an integral part of Red Cloud’s holistic approach to education which is rooted in Jesuit and Lakota culture and traditions. With a great sense of school and community pride, Red Cloud students in grades K-12 look forward to traveling to Rapid City each December to compete in the annual Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) now held at the brand new Monument Arena. Despite a major winter blizzard at the beginning of the week, the five-day competition, was held from December 13-17 and hosted more than 3,000 participants from 24 schools representing five surrounding states.

LNI began more than 45 years ago as an eight-team basketball tournament in Pine Ridge. From these humble beginnings the tournament has grown into one of the most significant local sporting events—this year with 24 boys and 24 girls teams playing in the marquee basketball tournament. Students also compete in archery, cheerleading, and wrestling events, the Lakota Knowledge Bowl, Language Bowl, business plan competition, chess matches, hand games tournament, the art show, and a special Powwow celebration.

This year, Red Cloud students brought their best to the competition, after months of practice and preparation. In athletics, the girls’ varsity basketball team, the Lady Crusaders, won the LNI Title for the second year in a row, with the boys’ team placing fifth. For the Archery Competition the girls high school team won first place, and Red Cloud students placed first in the Poetry Slam Competition. Additionally, Red Cloud student artists won two first places for their work in the LNI Art Show.

South Dakota’s Native American communities gather at the five day Lakota Nation Invitational and celebrate not only the sports but also the art and cultural vibrancy of our regions original residents. Red Cloud is proud of our students’ dedication not only to their academics, but also as they come together to compete in honor of their school, families and their nation.