To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

Synopsis

The Carlisle Indian School and the Haskell Institute in Kansas were among the many federally operated boarding schools enacting the U. S. government's education policy toward Native Americans from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, one designed to remove children from familiar surroundings and impose mainstream American culture on them. To Show What an Indian Can Do explores the history of sports programs at these institutions and, drawing on the recollections of former students, describes the importance of competitive sports in their lives. Author John Bloom focuses on the male and female students who did not typically go on to greater athletic glory but who found in sports something otherwise denied them by the boarding school program: a sense of community, accomplishment, and dignity.

Excerpt

In October 1997 Grace Thorpe arrived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with a petition in her hand. Most often, when she is engaged in political activism of this nature, Thorpe is rallying to protect the environment from nuclear waste. But this time she was involved in a different cause. She had come to this central Pennsylvania town to collect signatures to endorse her father, the great Jim Thorpe, as the century's greatest athlete. Indeed, there have been few other athletes who have come close to accomplishing what Jim Thorpe was able to do in his athletic life: He won gold medals in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and Olympic games for the decathlon and pentathlon; he had a distinguished professional baseball career; and he was a Hall of Fame professional football player. In fact, the Associated Press in 1950 named Thorpe the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century. However, after fifty years of National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals and Super Bowls, Wide World of Sports broadcasts, and ESPN Sportcenter, few today know much about athletes who, like Thorpe, never made it under the Fox Sportscope. To Grace Thorpe, her father's achievements are too important to forget just because they did not take place on television: [I just personally think he was the greatest all-around athlete of the century and I just felt I can do something about that] (Miller and Wenner 1997).

Jim Thorpe's daughter chose to stop in Carlisle on her petition drive because Carlisle was one of the most important places in her father's . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.