Column: Cheyenne youth attend basketball camp

"For most born and/or reared on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, life seldom leads them beyond the borders of the site’s 445,000 acres in southeast Montana. Most are schooled there and remain there to raise their own family. They venture out for the two-hour drive to Billings, where shopping malls and movie theaters expose them to mainstream America.

Otherwise, they face a life certain to include addiction, whether it be to drugs or alcohol. Poverty is generational and has been the way of life for the Cheyenne tribe since the reservation was established in the late 19th century.

[Marcus] McGill, a Columbia native who teaches on the reservation, took a step this week toward changing those patterns. He raised the $5,000 necessary for four of his students to make their first airplane ride, attend an Atlanta Braves game, participate in Odom’s camp, make a presentation at Virginia Tech and see their first beaches, near Charleston.

“The biggest thing I want for these guys is to be exposed to different things,” says McGill, a Clemson graduate who is studying this summer to earn his master’s degree. “We want kids going into the military, going to college. We want kids to go into some sort of certification program in whatever field. We want to make sure they are looking for something to do after high school.”

Talon Lonebear is a 12-year-old seventh-grader. Tyrell Emerson is 14 and headed to eighth grade. Arlin Bordeaux is 15 and Theron Adams 14. Both will be ninth-graders this fall. All were selected to make the trip because of their strong academic performances as well as their basketball ability.

Each also was required to raise $150 toward financing the trip. Typical of the bunch was Bordeaux, who branded cattle on his family’s ranch until he earned the necessary funds."

Get the Story:
Ron Morris: Montana youths given opportunity of a lifetime (The State 6/15)