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In a time of crises for Native American tribes with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, one University of Wisconsin basketball player brought a rather impertinent hope to a city with seemingly none left.
In the USA Today article, Bronson Koenig took a trip to Standing Rock, North Dakota in an 18-foot rig that carried warm clothing, camping supplies, and dry food. This all in part of hosting a basketball camp for kids at the local high school. However, Bronson was not just an inspiration to the hundreds of kids he spoke to at Standing Rock. He was a role model for all Native Americans, someone to look up to in a community that has lacked people to emulate.
According to Aristotle, there are two types of happiness: intrinsically valuable and instrumentally valuable happiness. For Koenig, his efforts in taking the 14-hour drive to support a community during a time of hardship is instrumentally valuable; his plan to feed and clothe those involved with the protests and host students from the local high school to a one-on-one basketball camp truly emanated a sense of happiness for a greater good. His role model persona gave these kids an inspiring hope that the Native American individual is not limited, and seeing him as somebody they can aspire to be like is valuable for their futures.
However, the ethical portion of Koenig’s decision was not hindered by his affiliation with the University of Wisconsin, for they admired and honored his unyielding efforts at Standing Rock. Although, this effort on his own part is intrinsically valuable in that far more common than role models were cautionary tales, of promising Native athletes waylaid by alcohol or depression. Koenig’s fight and story gave others hope in that he didn’t have to travel 14 hours to support all of these people. He did not have to host a spontaneous basketball camp for the local youth. But he did.
In a time of a lot of pain and misunderstanding for many people of not only Standing Rock, ND, but the entire nation, Bronson Koenig brought happiness for others and himself for the love and fight he has for his Native people. It is ethically moral on Wisconsin to honor his efforts, support his cause, and ultimately save a population in light of darkness.