Events like Native American Heritage Month, this November, often focus on the past, on the accomplishments and traditions of the great figures of history. But history is being made every day, and young people like Kola Bad Bear are part of that.
A member of the Crow Nation, born and raised in Billings, Montana, Nikola "Kola" Bad Bear is a 6'2" senior at Montana State University, and a forward for the Bobcats women's basketball team (click here for her ESPN profile).
The Bobcats are the in-state rivals of the Lady Griz basketball team of the University of Montana. Rob Selvig, the longtime coach of that team (1978-2016), is the subject of our Emmy and Christopher Award-winning film THE HOUSE THAT ROB BUILT.
One aspect of that film is how Selvig found talented Native American players, including recruiting from reservations, starting with Malia Kipp of the Blackfeet Nation.
From the Flathead Beacon:
The documentary chronicles the stories of former Lady Griz players from across Montana, including many Native American women who played at UM and went on to successful post-collegiate careers. For his efforts in recruiting American Indian players, Selvig became one of the few non-Native Americans to be inducted into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Recently, I sat down with Kola Bad Bear to talk about her experiences as a current Native athlete, what sports has given her, the importance of family, faith, and her goals for the future -- and of course, what seeing Native athletes in THE HOUSE THAT ROB BUILT meant to her.
Have a look:
Images: Kola Bad Bear
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.