Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota
May 22, 1955
James Walker was born along the Missouri River in 1955. Shortly thereafter his family’s home got flooded and they had to move. He was sent to St. Josephs Indian Boarding School in Chamberlain, SD, when he was five years old. He was there seven years and was introduced to basketball. He went to Wilton, ND in the eighth grade and continued playing basketball and football until graduating in 1973.
James was recruited by Dickinson State College to play basketball. When he was a sophomore in college, he tried out for the National Indian Activities Association national team and made the cut. The team had a scrimmage at the University of Mary against the defending state amateur basketball team. They went to Haskell, KS and had another scrimmage against their college team and then on to Baton Rouge, LA to play in the National Amateur tournament. We got beat but I got to play against some would-be Pros and D1 college players which really help me develop.
James was named to the NAIA All American honorable mention team while at Dickinson
State College. After college, he played Indian ball with the UTTEC team in 1975. In 1976, his team and part of the South Dakota team got together and formed the Lakota Coup Counters and they won the national tournament in Ft. Duchesne UT. They repeated in 1977 in Minneapolis and he was named MVP. He continued to play with the Coup Counters for 10 years and they were one of the top teams and always in the top three finishes at national tournaments. He then played with the Dakota Warriors in many tournaments, both Indian only and open tournaments. He was also named to the National Indian Activities Association (NIAA) Hall of Fame.