We are rescheduling the 2020 Induction to the Fall or December. Stay Tuned!
The following write ups were placed on our Facebook Page. We will share them here as we highlight each inductee:
St. Labre Braves 1977 State Boys Basketball Team: On March 5, 1977, a cold Saturday night in Cut Bank Montana, the St. Labre Braves Boys team won the State Class B Basketball Title! Ten years after the school’s first one, with Rodney Plenty Hawk dropping 13 points in the 4th quarter, 33 for the game - 13 rebounds & shooting 15 of 22 from the field. “It was just straight desire to want to win.” Coach Wendell Griffin said. “We didn’t win with our offensive play or our defensive play, we just wanted to come back and win it.” The Braves ended on top of Class B with a 24-2 record that year! We have collected articles and photos to share! They take you back to an amazing time as every player rose up when needed and fought together to become State Champions! Welcome to the 2020 Hall of Fame 1977 St. Labre Braves Boys Basketball Championship Team with full inclusion of their Cheerleaders!
Sandra Marie Plenty Hoops Shield's story & the history of her legendary impact with the Fancy Shawl is an amazing story. In the summer of 1957 when the Apsáalooke people would go visit their Hidatsa relatives in Mandaree North Dakota. Sandra's late uncle Ralph Wells Jr, challenged a group of young ladies to dance against Sandra. Accepting the challenge, the young ladies danced alongside Sandra. As they danced, the beginning songs would start out slow, where she initially had her shawl draped over her one arm. Swaying gracefully to rhythm to the drum, the pace of the drum gradually increases to a fast pace. As the young ladies challenged her, Sandra opened up her shawl and draped it around her shoulders and finished the remainder of the song. It was at this moment, the Women’s Fancy Shawl began. When Sandra danced and would win, her uncle Wells would donate a whole beef for a feed. If she got beat, he put forth saddles, hides and material items as nothing monetary back then. The same competition would happen when their Hidatsa relatives would come visit at Crow Fair. If the competition was in Crow Agency, her uncle Jim Big Shoulder would put forth similar prizes on her behalf. This friendly competition went on for decades. In Women’s Fancy Shawls infant stages, the late Dan Old Elk and Donnie Deernose had a dance troupe that traveled the country whom Sandra and her sister, the late Gladys Jefferson, would put on exhibitions & this is how Fancy Shawl got its initial exposure. As they traveled, many tribes were against this change & people would throw objects at them because of this. Now, you see the Women’s Fancy Shawl at every powwow in Indian Country! Sandra (Apsáalooke/Crow), is a member of the Ashkápkawiia (Bad War Deeds) clan, and a child of the Ashshitchíte (Big Lodge) clan. Sandra is also a member of the Sacred Tobacco Society. Her Apsáalooke name Baálaschili Xiassaash (Buys the Outstanding Horse), was given to her by her late uncle Jim Big Shoulder. Her father is the late David Plenty Hoops and mother the late Dorothy Holds the Enemy. She is happily married to Myron Young Dog Shield and together they have three sons Lonnie, Myron Jr., and Jeremy Shield. Sandra is rich with knowledge of her Apsáalooke culture because she was raised around the traditional ceremonies. In doing so, rose the story of how the Women’s Fancy Shawl began. What an honor to capture such an amazing individual with such a powerful impact! Welcome to the 2020 Hall of Fame Sandra Plenty Hoops Shield!
Wes Knutson is a member of the Salish Tribal Nation and brought the first State Wrestling Championship to Polson High School where he graduated from in 1978. During his high school wrestling career, he finished with a 101-9 record and was a three-time placer with a 1st in 76, a 2nd in 77, and a 3rd in 78. A versatile high school athlete, he was also an All-State football player (on both offense and defense) and an All-State pole vaulter where he owned Polson High School's pole vault record for years. He was recruited to North Idaho College in wrestling where he won Coeur d'Alene's prestigious Tri-State Wrestling Tournament twice! From there, he wrestled at Division I Boise State and the University of Montana where he earned a degree in health, physical education and recreation in 1983. It was as a teacher and coach that he found his true calling. All in all, he coached 60 total seasons (football, wrestling, track, and volleyball) in 30 years starting in Valier for the 1983-84 school year where he taught K-12 PE and coached football, wrestling, and track & field. He counts himself fortunate to have coached notable athletes like Turk Cobell, Steve Smith, and Alfred "Frosty" DeBoo. His 1987 boys track team finished second in Class C. He was selected twice as a coach in the Class C All-Star 8-man football game and mentored his first wrestling state champion in Doug Lauffer and his first state track champs in Cobell and Mike Dunlap. Wes moved on to Columbia Falls School District where he led the Columbia Falls Matcats to the Class A state championship in 1990. His Columbia Falls teams finished in the top five in state wresting 12 times as he coached a total of 22 wrestling state champions and 29 runners-up. Two of his wrestlers went on to claim NAIA college national championships. Wes won Montana Coach of the Year for wrestling in 1990 and the MCA's Assistant Coach of the Year twice & is a member of the Columbia Falls Coaches Hall of Fame. A humble athlete, coach & leader that gives his all in everything he has done, competed & graduated at a Division I level and paid it forward to students & young athletes as a powerful prominent teacher & coach for 30 years! Welcome to the Hall of Fame Wes Knutson!
Donny Belcourt is a Chippewa Cree Tribal member that graduated in 1983 from Billings Senior where they won the State Cross Country title in 1982. He went on to run at Haskell Indian Junior College and became an All-American runner and received a full-ride scholarship to run at NCAA Division I Oklahoma State University. At OSU Donny became a 1st Team All-District and Big 8 All-Conference runner, blazing trails in Cross Country and Track. After college, he moved his goals to the Olympics. He qualified for the Olympic trials representing the Western United States in 1992 & 1996 running for Reebok in the 1500 and 5000 meters as a festival qualifier. His personal bests include a 1:50 time in the 800, 2:27.3 in 1000 meters, 3:41.3 in the 1500 meters, 13:46.2 in the 5000 meters, and a 29:16.4 in the 10,000 meters. Mr. Belcourt hit his stride in college and beyond becoming one of the best runners out of Montana, he also was one tough boxer winning the Golden Glove title in 1983. He had the drive, commitment and the right people to look up to, including previous MT Indian Athletic Hall of Famer, Roy Old Person that ran for Wichita State in the 60s. A very cool side note is Roy and Donny had the same American Indian Hall of Fame Running Coach Jerry Tuckwin and hopefully when the induction dates are rescheduled, we can get them all together. Indian Country is connected on so many levels & our people are so powerful and Mr. Belcourt is a true example of that grit. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Donny Belcourt!
Joe Bergie is a true trailblazing legend, All-American center & fullback, Joseph Bergie of the 1911-1912 Carlisle Indian football team! When the Carlisle Indian team played against West Point in 1912, future President Dwight T. Eisenhower was a starter as running back & was hit so hard by Joe Bergie it ended Dwight's football career and led him into politics. With roots in Dakota Country and family deeply connected to the Fort Peck Tribal Nations. Joe went on to play Professional football for the Altoona Indians and the Pitcairn Quakers as a player and coach before settling down in Poplar after serving in WWI. What a powerful story to be told! Welcome to the Hall Joe "Stonewall" Bergie!