A simple act of reciprocated kindness

Plenty Coups and Absarokee basketball teams show appreciation to each other
By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, January 16, 2020
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Photo by Bud Chenault

    Last weekend's exchange came as an act of appreciation for when Absarokee gave Plenty Coups fans Christmas gifts during a home game in December.

Last weekend, when the Absarokee Lady Huskies rolled into Pryor to play the Plenty Coups Warriors, the team, and everyone else in attendance from Absarokee, were greeted with Indian tacos.

It was a thank you, of sorts, for the hospitality Absarokee had shown Plenty Coups and its fans weeks earlier when Santa handed out gifts to kids during halftime.

“A great gesture of gratitude,” is how Absarokee Coach Gregg Feddes described.

But you didn’t have to be a local to appreciate it.

Sawyer Evans is a Cowley, Wyo., resident who attended the game as the girlfriend of an uncle of one of Plenty Coups’ players.

Evans wrote the following Facebook post, that quickly made its way to a Stillwater County resident, and then to the News. That post is as follows:

“January 11 at 6:44 AM ·

You guys... day in and day out I read, I hear, and I witness stories of division in our country so I want to share a beautiful one about unity that I witnessed with my own eyes and felt with my own heart last night. I went to a high school basketball game close to a town where a young girl is missing. (This is a REAL problem that our country has so if you’re out there looking for something to protest at least pick a cause worthy of your voice and I’ll say this cause is definitely worthy of my voice. 5,712 Native women were reported missing or murdered in 2016, Now we’ve lost count.) But not only did I see a community rally together on behalf of a worthy cause I watched a good ballgame with great sportsmanship. They provided free Indian tacos for all their guests because Absarokee had given them Christmas gifts at their previous home game.

I saw kindness. I saw generosity. And I saw hope. I saw hope for Selena Shelley Faye Not Afraid. I saw hope for her people. I saw hope for myself and all of the people. You guys our world has a lot of healing to do but please don’t be so blinded by our brokenness that you cannot see the beauty that still surrounds you. Find the light and when it feels like there is no light, that means it’s your turn to BE the light.

Well played Absarokee & Plenty Coups, Well played.”

HITTING CLOSE TO HOME

In addition to the warm feeling of good will that Evan’s post highlighted, also brings local attention to a topic that is hitting closer and closer to home — missing indigenous women and children and the possible tie to the horrifying world of sex trafficking.

On New Year’s Day, Not Afraid, a beautiful 16-year-old Hardin High School junior, went missing. She was last seen at a rest stop between Billings and Hardin along I-90 when she reportedly walked into a nearby field and disappeared. At least that is the story given by five adults who were giving the teen a ride from Billings to Hardin. Those adults have reportedly told conflicting stories.

A specialized Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team from the FBI has joined the search. Searches have included helicopters, thermal drones, K-9s, and ground searches on foot, by ATV and on horseback.

THE GOOD NEWS

On positive side, Montana is knocking it out of the ballpark when it comes to child sex trafficking prevention efforts. A national non-profit organization in November gave the state an A, stating that Montana has a “commitment to laws and practices that vigorously protect child sex trafficking victims and hold buyers, sellers, and facilitators accountable,” according to Shared Hope International’s annual state report card.

Montana had the second-highest score in the nation and has received an A rating since 2015.

That is thanks largely to legislation drafted by and introduced at the request of Attorney General Tim Fox that updated state human trafficking laws to reflect the model state human trafficking act. Prior to the changes, Montana’s rating was an F, according to the Montana Department of Justice.

Montana was one of only four states to jump four grades, according to Shared Hope International.

Last year, Fox appointed 11 members to the Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.

Montana lawmakers created the task force to identify jurisdictional and communication barriers among law enforcement agencies that prevent adequate investigation of missing Native Americans and ways to improve collaboration.

The task force also will oversee a grant program to fund efforts by tribes to identify, report and find missing Native Americans.

Attorney General Tim Fox has appointed 11 members to the Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, which is still in its infancy stages.

According to this task force, as of November 2019, a total of 150 people were reported missing in Montana, 31 of whom were Native American.

 

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