Paper Title

Intersectionality and Sport: Representing Shoni Schimmel, “Rez ball” and the Native American Imaginary

Location

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

sport, intersectionality, Native Americans

Abstract

There is a growing body of scholarship that establishes the necessity of using intersectionality as an important framework for understanding sport and sporting representations. This paper builds upon that scholarship to discuss popular representations of professional basketball player Shoni Schimmel. A member of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream Schimmel is known for her creative style of play. Raised on the Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Mission, Oregon, “Showtime” Schimmel has proven to be quite a draw with numerous Native Americans traveling long distances to watch her play. Merely describing her popularity, however, fails to address why Schimmel means so much to so many Native Americans. This topic is additionally important to investigate given the gendered spaces of sports, where hegemonic masculinity is frequently uncritically celebrated. In this paper, I draw upon theories of intersectionality to link the assent of “Schimmel phonenoma” to longstanding narratives about the playful, expressive and creative potential of “Rez ball” both in American Indian basketball spaces and literature. These narratives complicate the normative gendered and racialized politics of sports, offering points of resistance to dominant commodified sporting ideals.

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Apr 1st, 9:00 AM Apr 1st, 10:15 AM

Intersectionality and Sport: Representing Shoni Schimmel, “Rez ball” and the Native American Imaginary

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

There is a growing body of scholarship that establishes the necessity of using intersectionality as an important framework for understanding sport and sporting representations. This paper builds upon that scholarship to discuss popular representations of professional basketball player Shoni Schimmel. A member of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream Schimmel is known for her creative style of play. Raised on the Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Mission, Oregon, “Showtime” Schimmel has proven to be quite a draw with numerous Native Americans traveling long distances to watch her play. Merely describing her popularity, however, fails to address why Schimmel means so much to so many Native Americans. This topic is additionally important to investigate given the gendered spaces of sports, where hegemonic masculinity is frequently uncritically celebrated. In this paper, I draw upon theories of intersectionality to link the assent of “Schimmel phonenoma” to longstanding narratives about the playful, expressive and creative potential of “Rez ball” both in American Indian basketball spaces and literature. These narratives complicate the normative gendered and racialized politics of sports, offering points of resistance to dominant commodified sporting ideals.