Schimmel sisters from left, Shoni, Milan and Jude played for the Northwest Elite team and won the NIAA Basketball Tournament women's division.
By LORI EDMO-SUPPAH
FORT HALL — Shoni and Jude Schimmel are enjoying the time they spend playing in Indian basketball tournaments for now and they were a big draw to the National Indian Activities Association National Basketball Tournament over the weekend.
They also brought their younger sister Milan to play in the women’s division their team Northwest Elite won on May 13.
After their first game on May 11, hoards of fans surrounded them for autographs and photos and it continued throughout the tourney. Fort Hall Police officers had to help manage the crowds as the Sho-Ban High School was packed for each of their games.
Shoni said she’s taking a year off from the WNBA New York Liberty team but intends to get right back into it next year. “I’m enjoying my time with my family but I’m getting out there and continuing to play basketball.” She never really got to play in Indian tournaments since she was younger, “It’s a full circle kind of thing to see the Indian people, hang out with them and enjoy it,” she continued. “Everybody is coming up, talking and they’re from all over. Tournaments like this is just a special moment not only for them but for my sisters to play with them.” “I’m just having fun,” she said.
Shoni said she’s taking the time to give back to the Native community signing autographs and taking photos with the young little Native American kids. “They could be me one day that’s why I try to be a positive role model for them.”
Her advice to the younger generation is to stay in school taking care of that first to fulfill their dreams, “For me I did that and I continue to keep doing what I do – live and learn,” she said. Shoni tells kids, “Hey if I can do it, you can do it, just go work hard and go out there.” She advises they have to pursue their dreams.
Shoni said she sees basketball in her life for a long time and she’s even thought about being a referee just to see the different sides of basketball. “I’m sticking with it (basketball) as long as I can but maybe open up a restaurant one of these days for fun and serve Native American food.” She envisions herself driving around in a food truck, “that would be kind of cool.”
Shoni Schimmel does a behind the back pass.
Jude Schimmel said she returned in April from playing basketball for Cadi La Seu in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain. She said the hardest part was the language barrier as most spoke Spanish or Catalan but she found a way to get used to it real fast. “I met a lot of new people and went to new places.” She intends to go back in the fall but doesn’t know where yet. After finishing at Louisville, she tried out for the WNBA Dallas Wings team but got cut. Her goal is to get into a WNBA training camp but that didn’t happen this year.
Jude is still a Nike N7 ambassador and will have a new line coming this fall. As a Nike N7 ambassador she tells a story about herself in promoting the products and has speaking engagements. She dealing with issues on her book she recently wrote and hopes to get it going again.
She’s excited to be on the tournament trail as she’s never had an opportunity to play in Indian women tournaments except in high school. She and Shoni have been to about four or five tournaments in a row so it’s really exciting for them. “It’s great because this is the most fun I’ve had playing rez ball,” she continued.
Jude received her Bachelors in Sociology and Louisville and started a Master’s degree in Sports Administration that she hopes to complete. “I want to try and take opportunities with basketball when I’m young then hopefully go back and finish – maybe take online classes,” she said. When asked about younger sister Milan, Jude said she’s really good but tells her not to be timid. Their family moved a lot when they were growing up so she’s happy Milan’s team won a state championship.
Jude Schimmel goes to pass.
Milan is 17 and just finishing her junior year at Nixyawii Community School in Mission, Oregon where she was born and raised. She said playing the NIAA Nationals is really cool and she’s honored to be a part of it. “It’s something really cool to see this big gathering of Native Americans and to showcase their wonderful talents throughout their lives.” It was her first time playing with Shoni in a tourney but she played with Jude in a couple of women’s tournaments. “They’re really fun to play with because they’re very crafty and they’re good about what they do,” she continued. They’re very smart and unselfish and can also school you when they want to, Milan said. As older siblings they’ve taught her things especially on and off the basketball court, “Being my older sisters, I am blessed.”
Milan said she may have some bragging rights in her family being the first to win a state high school basketball championship. “We weren’t expecting it, but our team believed in each other, it’s totally unreal,” she continued and the team is having their ring ceremony on May 19. She intends to go to college and is hoping for a basketball scholarship but has been in involved in summer college programs to prepare for it.
Bobette Haskett speaks as Sonya Wadsworth presents PowerPoint.
By ROSELYNN WAHTOMY
FORT HALL – The Early Childhood program Deniwappe and the Traditional Roles of a Woman/Mother was on Thursday May 11.
The presenters were Bobette Haskett and Sonya Wadsworth from the Language & Culture Preservation Department, who recalled traditional teachings from their childhood and lessons compiled by elders in their office.
They defined Deniwappe as a way of life, what one was taught and they believe in and practice and respect.
They talked about their mother, who understood the language. This was during the time when it was common practice for people to come over to visit.
The roles of a traditional woman come in all stages of life.
As a daughter, one learned skills at home with their mother, grandmother, auntie and cousins. They must learn to harvest and gather, help to care for the siblings, do chores, learn patience, love, nurturing and survival skills. A daughter did what she is told without questioning authority. Daughters were taught to become ready to become a wife after their first moon.
The traditional teachings of a wife were many married for survival and married someone who was selected for them, sometimes by their parents or grandparents. They married with the intent of raising a family to ensure the survival of the band. The couple partnered to share chores of hunting and gathering. The women care for the children in the home.
Another traditional teaching is when a woman had a baby they would go to a moon house and separate themselves from their family for a certain amount of days. The time was meant for the mother and baby to form a strong bond.
A traditional mother was very powerful, she was the life giver and often sacrificed for her family. She was the first teacher and taught valuable lessons to her children about how to live and survive. She was the first teacher of the language, she cooked meals and enforced chores, while teaching her children what was expected of them.
A traditional grandmother held the history of the ancestors. She lived to see hard and good times. She told oral stories that taught the young how to live. They passed on spirituality teachings.
Haskett encouraged those who had their grandparents to learn all they can from them as they were valuable.
The following is a list of Deniwappe do’s and don’ts:
Never refuse an invitation to eat and always offer guests something to eat or drink no matter what the time is.
When cooking never stir food with a knife or you may make the people you’re cooking for sick.
Never cook when angry or bang around pots, as it’s in bad taste and those you’re cooking for may lose their appetite.
Be respectful of elders and never stand behind an elder while they’re eating as it may cause them to choke.
Let children know when someone is praying and keep them quiet and still.
Younger people should hold doors open for elders.
A first kill should be given away. A prayer should be offered for the kill. It was also noted more traditional foods should be incorporated into one’s diet.
People cut their hair for sacrifice when a close relative passed away.
Exercise patience in all things done to avoid making mistakes and jeopardizing others or ourselves.
Don’t whistle at night because there are things out there that may answer you. Don’t allow children to play outside at night because of the unknown things that come out at night.
The roles of women and mother’s today has changed with many of them working and now the presence of social media. They still provide children with love and nurturing and some traditional teachings.
Women and mothers were cautioned to be mindful and respectful on social media.
Lastly, women and mothers were told to continue to pray and if they don’t pray much to begin to. They were also told to drink water to bless themselves.