July 17, 2010 by Post Team
Jim Thorpe:PHILADELPHIA – A son of the great Jim Thorpe sports sued the Pennsylvania town that bears the name of his father Thursday, demanding that her remains returned to Oklahoma under a federal law designed to give Indian artifacts back to their countries tribal origins.
Jack Thorpe, 72, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, sued in federal court in Scranton, saying he had waited until the last of his half sisters died to avoid family conflict over demand.
“The bones of my father will not make or break your city,” said Jack Thorpe, a former head of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the defendants, who include several current and former city officials. “I am upset with my father as a tourist attraction.”
His father, a native of Oklahoma, born in the tribe, he overcame his humble roots to win the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics. Jim Thorpe won enviable amounts later played professional football and baseball, and playing just under Indian B-list Hollywood movies, then poverty until his death in March 1953 in California at age 64.
In an agreement to attract foreign tourists, cities and fusion of East Mauch Chunk Mauch Chunk, Pa., negotiated an agreement with ambitious Thorpe’s third wife that changed the community name Jim Thorpe in 1954 and brought his remains to a corner of the Pocono Mountains that probably never saw.
Thorpe’s three daughters endorsed the agreement long, especially daughter Grace, indigenous activist who sometimes visited the city’s annual celebration of Jim Thorpe. But Jack and his three brothers were opposed to it, believing that his father belongs to the earth sacred tribal burial in Shawnee.
“Yes, I know that he was the greatest athlete of all-around this country to date,” said Jack Thorpe. “He was also Native American, and had his tribe and his family. … So I’ve always had two different cultures have friction.”
Tucked away in a steep valley on the western shore of the Poconos, the town of Jim Thorpe has been a popular tourist attraction for decades, offering historic architecture, quaint shops, train trips and outdoor recreation in whitewater rafting tours fall foliage.
Defendant John McGuire, vice chairman, in favor of keeping Thorpe remains at the roadside memorial overlooking the Lehigh River. He believes that most city residents do, too.
“The townspeople are proud of it. We have an association which takes care of the monument and the grounds, and the statues were placed in his honor,” said McGuire. “We try to honor Jim Thorpe as much as possible.”
Even if the claim is successful, McGuire is considered unlikely that the city would change its name again.
“It’s been that way for 60 years. I see no reason to change it. We are known for what are now,” he said.
Thorpe became famous during the 1912 Olympics in Sweden, where the track title was King Gustav V of declaring, “Lord, you are the greatest athlete in the world.” The 24-year-old Thorpe said: “Thanks, King.”
The medals were rescinded a year later because of concerns Thorpe had played baseball some semi. But the family was restored posthumously in 1982.
Jack Thorpe hopes city leaders now place the debate over his body to rest without a trial.
“Maybe Jim Thorpe, Pa., of the goodness of their hearts, said,” We will return the remains. We will not have to go through this, ‘”he said.” I hope you just go click, click. ”
Associated Press writer Michael Rubinkam in Allentown, Pa., contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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