E60 Closes Season with Story of Life and Sport of Indian Relay on Lakota Reservation

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E60 Closes Season with Story of Life and Sport of Indian Relay on Lakota Reservation

Native American Family Uses Sport to Fight Against Historically Bloody and Impoverished Past, Teach Young About Imperiled Culture

Sacred Dog Debuts Sunday, December 24, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN, Streaming After on ESPN+

An award-winning story about a Native American family’s use of sport to fight against their historically bloody and impoverished past and teach their young about their own imperiled culture is at the center of the final new episode of the 2023 season of ESPN’s E60.

Sacred Dog debuts on Christmas Eve (Sunday, Dec. 24), at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN, streaming immediately after on ESPN+. The one-hour program was written by Tom Junod and directed by Jeremy Williams.

Hundreds of years ago, when the Lakota Sioux first saw horses, they called them “Sunka Wakan” – sacred dogs – and believed they were gifts from the Creator. It was their mystical relationship with the horse that made the Lakota the most powerful of the great Plains nations and enabled them to resist the armies of the United States until 1890.

The Lakota have lost a great deal since then but they have not lost their relationship with the horse, a relationship explored by E60 in Sacred Dog. The sport of Indian Relay Racing, which has its roots in the horse races that prepared members of the Lakota for their lives as warriors, is now used to preserve sustaining traditions in the face of the indemic poverty of the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Young men and women discover the power of a “warrior sport” that belongs only to them and gives them a powerful sense of belonging.

The story centers around the Brewer family, split between two teams, the Brew Crew and Dancing Warrior, as they compete against other tribes throughout the Midwest in an attempt to regain their Lakota pride and give their children a blueprint for the future.

Indian Relay is an extreme and sometimes dangerous sport: three times around the track on three different horses, bareback. But it’s also a sustaining sport. It restores the primacy of the horse in Lakota lives – the horse as a “medicine,” as lifeline.

In September, Sacred Dog was selected as “Best Showcase Documentary” at the Soho International Film Festival. It also was a nominee for “Best Documentary Feature” at the American Indian Film Festival.

Sacred Dog is the closing episode of a holiday afternoon of E60 storytelling on December 24.

1 p.m. – The Great Imposter and Me

2:30 p.m. – Once Upon a Time in Anaheim

3:30 p.m. — The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports

5 p.m. – Sacred Dog

After the initial airing, in addition to being available on ESPN+, the program will re-air multiple times on ESPN networks.


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Andy Hall

I’m part of a team that handles PR/Communications for SportsCenter, including the SC Featured brand, the E60 program, and ESPN’s news platforms. In addition, I’m the PR contact for ESPN’s Formula 1 coverage and golf majors (the Masters and PGA Championship). I’m based in Daytona Beach, Fla., and have been with ESPN since 2006.
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