Film celebrates Native American girl’s abilities ‘Off the Rez’

PORT ANGELES — The Magic of Cinema and the First Nations Club will host a screening of “Off the Rez,” a film about a young Native American woman, Shoni Schimmel, who must leave her home on the Umatilla Indian Reservation to play for a competitive, nationally recognized basketball league, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The film will be shown in Maier Performance Hall at Peninsula College at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Admission is free. Donations to the First Nations Club will be accepted.

The film follows the story of Schimmel and her family and their determined pursuit of their dreams, according to a press release.

As a high school junior living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeastern Oregon, Schimmel was the star basketball player on the local team.

When her mother, Ceci, was offered a job coaching a high school team in Portland, Ore., she saw an opportunity not only for her, but also her entire family, and especially her daughter.

The film chronicles how Ceci, against the wishes of her mother and grandmother, decides to move to Portland with her eight children in tow and enroll her daughter Shoni in a new school.

At the school, Shoni’s talents are quickly recognized and she is selected to play for the basketball team. The pressure mounts as she realizes that her success at basketball will determine the college she will be able to attend.

Meanwhile, the family’s life in Portland, away from home, involves a greater adjustment than they anticipated.

But as the girl continues to play, she notices more Native American fans in the audience. They have come from across the country to watch her on the court.

For more information, contact Helen Lovejoy at [email protected]

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