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Bill Barnett - An Athletes Story

Bill Barnett was a pastor, father, and loving friend to many but he was also a lifelong athlete and coordinator of Native American sports throughout his lifetime. Help us tell his story and the historical progression of national native sports events which deserve to be documented. Be part of our effort to produce this sports documentary and short film by sharing your experiences in being involved in one of the many local and national tournaments Bill coordinated that brought native communities together.

As part of our research phase we are asking people to submit information about events, programs, and disciplines listed below that they were a part of. This can be through a memory or comment you would like to share.  Photos or videos that help share your experience would be greatly appreciated as those were not readily taken in the 70s - 90s as they are today.  We have submission forms below or you can contact us through email directly at


1960s - 1970s

West - Los Angeles, CA
Albuquerque, NM

Please share your story if you were an acquaintance of Bill during the 1960s  when he was living in West Los Angeles, CA or when he was attending the University of New Mexico in the 1970s where he held the first ever All-Indian National Basketball Tournament at The Pit in 1973. Any information on native sports organizations during those years would be greatly appreciated.

1960s - 1990s


Please share your story if you were an acquaintance of Bill during the times he was living in Oklahoma. In the late 60s and 70s he attended Bacone College in Muscogee, OK and coordinated many sporting events there. In 1976 he moved his family to Shawnee, OK where he was the director of the Upward Bound Program at Oklahoma Baptist University and served as the first Womens Head Basketball Coach there. He  conducted many native basketball events on campus and at different venues throughout the Shawnee and Seminole area for all age groups.  His tournaments over Thanksgiving and Christmas were a staple event for many Native American participants and families to enjoy the holidays by coming together. His spring break tournaments would draw well over 100 teams each year from in and out of the state.



Athlete - Track and Field

Bill was a lifelong track and field athlete starting in his
youth. He ran the sprints in college and stayed active throughout his later years in the sport competing statewide and nationally in the  Senior Games where he last participated in 2019 at the age of 85. Please share your memories of competing with Bill through the years if he was a part of your experience.



Bill was a lifelong servant of the Lord and was pastor at churches serving Native American communities. His well known pastoral  and evangelism work throughout Oklahoma still resonates today through his past involvement with numerous ministries with native outreach being a primary goal. Please share your memories of being part of Bill's service in Christ throughout the years he was in California, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.


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