chapter  7
Unlikely Champion: Emma Rose Sansaver, 1884–1925
Pages 29

On an evening in mid-June of 1903, eighteen-year-old Emma Rose Sansaver and her teammates from the Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School engaged in a hard-fought exhibition game of “basket ball” that gave residents of Havre, Montana, their first glimpse of the fledgling sport. “Fort Shaw Indian Girls Play a Good Fast Game before a Large Audience,” the Havre Plaindealer reported. Yet whatever pleasure Emma might have taken from seeing that article in her hometown paper must have been overshadowed by the pain and chagrin triggered by news that her uncle had ridden in from Maple Creek, Alberta, the day before. He had come to organize a new search for the body of her mother, “Mary Sansavere, a half-breed Cree Indian,” who had disappeared some five years earlier. By the end of the week a front-page article in the Plaindealer confirmed rumors that the murdered woman was indeed “the mother of Miss Sansseuver, a member of the Fort Shaw Indian girls’ basketball team, which gave so creditable an exhibition here Wednesday evening.”1