Thursday, October 24, 2013
As I have previously discussed, a federal judge recently ruled that under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains of famed athlete Jim Thorpe must be moved from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, to the Sac and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma. The town is currently appealing this decision, hoping to keep Jim Thorpe in Jim Thorpe.
Thorpe’s son, William Thorpe, claims his father repeatedly told family members he wanted to be buried in Oklahoma, his native state. When Jim Thorpe died in 1953, his children held an Indian burial ceremony on the Sac and Fox Reservation with the athlete’s body in full view. Thorpe’s widow, Patsy Thorpe, came and seized the body and then began “shopping [his] body around the country.” She ended up cutting a deal with two struggling Pennsylvania towns that agreed to merge, rename themselves after the great athlete, and build a memorial in his honor.
See David Zucchino, Jim Thorpe, Pa., Fights to Keep its Namesake, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 18, 2013.