Atrocity Tourism: Trail of Tears Used to Pitch Tulsa for 2024 Olympics
Tulsa2024, a private Olympic Exploratory Committee seeking to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to Tulsa, Oklahoma, is using the Trail of Tears as a selling point. According to the Tulsa2024 website: "Over half of the States in the USA are of Native American origin. The Olympic Torch would travel though these Native American named states and follow one, or more of the many Trail of Tears to Indian Territory, and end in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Cherokee Nation. The Olympic Torch would then travel from Tahlequah, OK to Tulsa to the start of the 2024 Games."
As ICTMN reported in April, the city of Tulsa was indeed exploring a longshot bid to land the 2024 Games, with the support of Mayor Dewey Bartlett. But the ongoing effort, Tulsa2024, is entirely a private effort, according to city officials. The Tulsa Sports Commission has scheduled a press conference today to discuss the issue.
As Travis Waldron of ThinkProgess observes, the most absurd part of the Tulsa Olympic bid "amazingly isn’t the bid itself — it’s that organizers apparently think incorporating the Trail of Tears on the Olympic torch route as a 'nod to the state’s American Indian history' is a good idea
In a feature story on Tulsa's Olympic bid efforts by Mary Pilon for The New York Times, published June 30, reference was made to the Trail of Tears idea: "In a nod to the state’s American Indian history, the Olympic torch would be led along the solemn Trail of Tears, not far from where field hockey would be played in Tahlequah."
"Using the Trail of Tears as part of an Olympic bid is outrageous, but it’s also just an extension of the thoughtlessness the sports world has applied to Native Americans for decades," says Waldron.