Indian Head Rockets from the 1940s and 1950s
A film featuring the Indian Head Rockets baseball team has been nominated for the Best of Saskatchewan award at the Yorkton Film Festival.
The Rockets were an all-black team that was based in Indian Head during the 1940s and 1950s. A special exhibit filled with artifacts and memorabilia was unveiled at the Indian Head Museum last June, and the team was inducted to the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in August 2022.
Late last year, CBC Saskatchewan released a 20-minute documentary about the Rockets called Golden Opportunities. Producers for the short film included Natascia Lypny and it was directed by Dan Plaster. The audio-visual production explained how the team came to Canada through the efforts of Jimmy Robison and included interviews with Robison’s daughter, Leone Farrell, and others acquainted with the team and its story. Guests included historian Max Weder, Indian Head Museum President Robyn Jensen, and local resident Doreen Willerth who had seen the team play. Nat Bates and Willie Reed also shared memories about their experience as players for the Rockets’ team.
Video footage and photographs from tournaments during that era added to the interest of the production. The film noted the popularity of baseball but also described the impact of racism on the sport, particularly discrimination against black or Latino athletes in the United States and the contrasting welcome that players received in Indian Head and elsewhere in Canada.
Golden Opportunities is one of the five films nominated for the Ruth Shaw Award – Best in Saskatchewan at the Yorkton Film Festival that is being held at the Gallagher Centre, May 25 to 27. There will be a free screening of the film on Saturday morning followed by a discussion with producer Lypny and director Plaster. Award winners will be announced at a gala on Saturday night.
For anyone unable to attend the festival, the Rockets documentary can also be viewed on CBC Saskatchewan’s YouTube channel.