Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Tohono O'odham basketball team finds community, advocacy through hoops


The Pima Community College West Campus gym goes silent, and then the drums start again.

They form a circle at midcourt, men and women, chanting and singing a beautiful rhythm that has sustained them for who knows how long? Centuries? Millennia? They are surrounded by a living, breathing rainbow of women, dancing and bobbing to the music, floor-length skirts of all colors pulsating to the beat, with ornate baskets, proudly held high, thrust into the air.

It is halftime of the 6 p.m. showdown at the Native American Classic basketball tournament between Tohono-O’odham Community College — whose head coach, Matt Vargas, conceptualized, scheduled and executed the event for the second straight year — and Salt Lake Community College, the defending national champions.


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