Fort Shaw Girls Basketball Team: Celebrating 120 Years

Location: 1 School Loop, Fort Shaw, MT 59443. Leave Great Falls at noon and explore the Fort when you arrive!

For Second Saturday June 8, The History Museum is partnering with the Sun River Valley Historical Society and the Gathering of Descendants Committee to celebrate the 120-year anniversary of the Fort Shaw Girls Basketball Team! The program begins promptly at 1pm in the school gymnasium. Join descendants of the incredible basketball team, local preservationists, and hear from author Linda Peavy who researched and wrote Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School, Basketball Champions of the World in 2008. She will be available to sign books after her talk.

In May of 1904, ten girls set out from the Fort Shaw Indian School for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri: Minnie Burton, Emma Sansaver, Nettie Wirth, Belle Johnson, Genie Butch, Rose LaRose, Flora Lucero, Katie Snell, Genevieve Healy, and Sarah Mitchell. Their talent for basketball earned them a place at the Model Indian School featured at the World’s Fair in Chicago that year. The girls played two games a week against various teams, never losing. When the girls weren’t on the court, they were staged either in the school or the traditional housing for the fairgoers to view. This story was unknown to most of the world until 1997 when a group of high school students from Sims uncovered their story while researching a history project.  Authors Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith spent the next 9 years doing research for their book Full Court Quest. A monument to the team was built at Fort Shaw and in 2010 Playing for the World, a PBS documentary, was made.

Please join us and the descendants of the Fort Shaw girls’ team to gather in Fort Shaw to honor their relatives. Attendees are welcome to tour the historic Fort Shaw grounds, cemetery, and monument thanks to the Sun River Valley Historical Society who maintains the Fort. Cascade County Historical Society/The History Museum will give an update on access to primary sources concerning the Native American boarding school era and their new Research Center. There will be raffles and a special honoring of many who have helped build and maintain momentum of this incredible story.


Jun 08 2024


1:00 pm




The History Museum
422 2nd St., Great Falls, MT
Opening Hour
Tuesday-Friday and Second Saturdays, 12-5PM


The History Museum
The History Museum