Mills, an Oglala Lakota (Sioux) raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, sent an email to our West Coast editor Valerie Taliman and head coach Freeman “Boss” Bucktooth in time to be received before the monster rematch against Team USA. Boss was meeting with the team, so Taliman took him the email so he could read it to the whole squad. Mills wrote:
Dear Iroquois Nationals! I have been following your competition on facebook and through websites here in the United States. We are all so proud of you and what you have accomplished for your team and nation.
I know you all have had some hardships getting to this competition, but rest assured this experience will be a major stepping stone in your life’s journey. Sports, more than anything else one can do, will prepare you for the path ahead.
My father, shortly before he passed away told me, “I hope you will try sports, son.” Those words have been with me since I was 11 years old.
We are all proud of the message of bravery and fairness that you have carried from the Native community.
All our best and safe travels back home. You make us all proud.
Kind words of encouragement from an icon.