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Red Cloud Indian School boys’ basketball team protecting Mother Earth


PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team might be known for their fast-paced defense during games, and last-minute game-winning shots at the buzzer, but at Red Cloud Indian School they’re also being recognized across campus for their efforts in saving the environment.

For the past two years, members of the boys’ basketball team have made it a weekly priority – in between classes and practices – to collect paper and plastic products throughout the school and make the trek up to the Recycling Service Center in Rapid City to dispose of the goods responsibly.

“This recycling program is about teaching our students – all our students – to have a sense of pride and responsibility for the earth, and to show them that they can and should give back to their community in service,” said Matt Rama, head boys’ basketball coach. “In our world today, it is necessary for our students to know the importance of saving and protecting what resources we have now, so that they can enjoy them in the future.”

With guidance by Rama, the student athletes have created boxes to be used for recycling paper and plastic products, and distributed them throughout campus in hopes of making recycling more accessible.

“As young Lakota people, it is our responsibility to take care of Mother Earth,” said Jeremy Blacksmith, a junior and the starting forward for the Crusaders. “This project helps us to do just that, and it allows my teammates and I to truly pay attention to what has been given to us, and to not take that for granted.”

Started by last year’s varsity team, Blacksmith says the program is one that will be passed on from team to team. “We’re following in the footsteps of tremendous student leaders.”

Along with Blacksmith, Lyle Jacobs and Brendon Two Bulls are currently taking care of the weekly collection and making bi-weekly journeys back and forth from Rapid City, a total of 150 miles.