Native Americans celebrate culture, UofL's Schimmel sisters

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 1:22 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 4 at 1:24 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was a rare sight at any basketball game – collegiate or professional.

Native Americans celebrated their culture to honor University of Louisville senior Shoni Schimmel.

Schimmel is the older of two talented sisters whom both have become role models for Native Americans across the country.

"As native people, we really are proud when our native people come up places like here in Louisville," Matthew Blackeagleman, a Dakota Sioux said.

Schimmel comes from the Umatilla tribe in Oregon. Some of the thousands who travelled just to support the Schimmels’ say basketball is popular among young Native Americans and the Schimmels’ prove someone from a tribe can succeed.

“In Indian country there are a lot of things that plague the reservations and even to get off the reservation is a big thing," one Native American woman said.

Tribes came from 40 states.  They brought signs, wore special t-shirts, and many lined the Yum Center to get her autograph after the game.   

"She literally demonstrates for people all over the place that as Native people we're just living in this world trying to survive like everybody else and she does a great job of that," Blackeagleman said.

This may not be the last game Schimmel plays in the KFC Yum! Center, but it still reminded the fans how much she will be missed.

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