“Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer” Screening Brings Local Community Together

Dawson Community College (DCC) recently held a screening event at their Toepke Auditorium for the award-winning documentary, "Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer." Over 110 college and local community members attended, which included many DCC student-athletes. Attendees had the opportunity to not only watch the inspiring journey of Barbara “Malia” Kipp, but engage in a meaningful discussion afterward with an esteemed panel of guests.

Among the guests was Coach Robin Selvig, former head coach of the Lady Griz, who was Kipp’s coach in “Native Ball.” The other three guests were Mike Chavez (Crow and Northern Cheyenne), Ryan Wetzel (Blackfeet), and Nakola “Kola” Bad Bear (Crow), who have all played basketball at the collegiate level and are strong advocates for indigenous culture. This panel added a special element to DCC’s screening, and those who attended the event had poignant feedback to share.

“First, I learned something in the film that I did not know. Malia Kipp was the first native woman [in Montana] to receive a D1 scholarship! Her story was not only inspiring to me, but to so many girls later. The panel was impressive! My biggest takeaway was Coach Selvig and the education he sought to become acclimated with his players that are native. I loved Malia’s comment about walking into his office and seeing the books he had! I am grateful to DCC for bringing an open discussion with such a powerful film,” said Marcy Smith, Glendive community member.

DCC Men’s Basketball Head Coach and Athletic Director, Joe Peterson, had this to say, “It was eye opening to put yourself into the shoes of someone from a different culture and see the challenges that they face and have had to overcome to have success in basketball, school, and life.” Additionally, Gina Roos, DCC Faculty Instructor and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Chair Member, stated that her biggest takeaway was the ripple effect Malia’s life choices have had, and continue to have, on others. “I hope this documentary reassures those, especially our native student-athletes, to stick with their hopes and dreams and to not give up.”

“Native Ball” can be briefly summarized as, “Blackfeet Nation’s Malia Kipp was a trailblazer. In 1992, only one of the roughly 5,000 American high-school girls who annually received a full-ride Division I basketball scholarship was a Native American: Kipp. As a member of the University of Montana’s Lady Griz, Kipp faced challenges learning to live in two worlds, but she carried the burden with grace and grit.” This documentary is available to watch now on PBS YouTube for free.

To learn more about this event, please contact Gina Roos at For more information on the “Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer” documentary, please visit or see the film on, the PBS app, and the PBS YouTube channel.

About Dawson Community College

Located on 300 acres in Glendive, MT, Dawson Community College (DCC) is a comprehensive academic community committed to providing affordable and open access to quality teaching and learning. Founded in 1940, Dawson Community College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees that prepare learners for transition to and success in further degree programs. Associate of Applied Science degrees prepare learners for vocational and technical career entry, transition, and advancement. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.