A win for Jim Thorpe's sons clears the way for the return of the "Greatest Athlete in the World's" remains to be returned to Sac and Fox land in Oklahoma.

Jim Thorpe's Sons Win Federal Lawsuit Against Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

ICTMN Staff
4/20/13

The two surviving children of sports great Jim Thorpe won a critical ruling Friday in federal court that could clear the way for his remains to be removed from a mausoleum in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name and reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma, reports the Associated Press

U.S. District Judge Richard Caputo ruled in favor of sons Bill and Richard Thorpe and against Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, a borough in the northeastern part of the state, saying the town itself amounts to a museum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The borough may appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, the brothers' attorney, Stephen R. Ward, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told the AP they will now pursue the legal process to have their father, known as the "Greatest Athlete in the World," returned to Sac and Fox land in central Oklahoma.

“They and their brothers and other members of the family have wanted this and have worked for this for a long time,” Ward said. “They well remember how the wishes of the Indian members of the family were not respected concerning their father’s burial.”

After Jim Thorpe died without a will in 1953 at age 64, third wife Patricia Thorpe made a deal with two merging towns in the Poconos, Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk, to have the new town named for him. His remains have been kept for the past six decades in a borough-owned roadside memorial along the Lehigh River.

Caputo wrote that the result may seem at odds with notions of commercial or contract law.

“Congress, however, recognized larger and different concerns in such circumstances, namely, the sanctity of the Native American culture’s treatment of the remains of those of Native American ancestry,” the judge said in his decision. “It did so against a history of exploitation of Native American artifacts and remains for commercial purposes.”

Related story: The Battle Over Jim Thorpe's Remains

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Phyllis Stone, Lakota Elder's picture
Phyllis Stone, ...
Submitted by Phyllis Stone, ... on
Yay! JIm Thorpe should be back with his people. My paternal grandpa went to school at Carlisle with him. I feel that I should be able to say something. Having his body in an area for tourists to see amounts to the thought of putting us on display as though we were in a zoo. It is not a matter of the wasicus seeing his grave as it is a matter of the respect and honor that would always be given to him if he were with his own people. His wife shows her undying selfishness.

susie   marie baker's picture
susie marie baker
Submitted by susie marie baker on
I think he should be returned to his people,his son's are right! he was one of the greatest native american Indian runners and ATHLETE of all time! May he rest with his people! Amen

Seasquaws@yahoo.com's picture
Seasquaws@yahoo.com
Submitted by Seasquaws@yahoo.com on
It's far to many times when Native people are overlooked on their Native beliefs, and some never get the burial spiritual needs that they need to have.

Daina Sherrick's picture
Daina Sherrick
Submitted by Daina Sherrick on
MR.JIM THORPE IS THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME.HE DESERVES TO BE HONORED AND HAVE A PROPER BURIAL.

John D. Rogers, Sr.'s picture
John D. Rogers, Sr.
Submitted by John D. Rogers, Sr. on
I am very happy for this decision and wish the family peace in knowing this Great Man will be at rest in his Home Land.

cigar barb's picture
cigar barb
Submitted by cigar barb on
May Bill and Richard be given back their family rights and receive their father. I believe their wishes to be only right and consideration to the great Jim Thorpe a must.

Darlene Perkins's picture
Darlene Perkins
Submitted by Darlene Perkins on
I don't applaud anyone for recognizing legally and/or publicly what should have been done long ago. It is the right of Jim Thorpe and his family to have a long overdue traditional Native American burial. This is a private family matter of cultural importance that should never have been up for discussion in any forum outside of their family.

notatall's picture
notatall
Submitted by notatall on
Well I'm mixed about this. On one hand it's just remains (ashes to ashes and all) On the other, it's the family that is complaining, not some activist group. Should be no contest. Unless the courts think that native Americans still have no rights. Come one people, if that were my father or grandfather, you'd be facing litigation for any revenue ever made as a result of his remains being displayed. How is that your money anyway?

Darlene Perkins's picture
Darlene Perkins
Submitted by Darlene Perkins on
Jim Thorpe and his family deserve to have a long overdue traditional Native American burial for their father. I don't applaud anyone for recognizing publically and legally what should have been done long ago. This is a private matter of family and cultural importance that should never have been up for discussion in any forum outside of their family.

Isaac Curley's picture
Isaac Curley
Submitted by Isaac Curley on
Sadly, it took an act of Congress (NAGRPA) to establish a means to which all Native American communities can re-claim the remains of its people and objects used in their religious ceremonies. The history of the U.S. will forever remain a dark chapter when it comes to treatment of the first people in the place called America. My prayers and best wishes are with the family as they proceed in the long-awaited interment of Jim Thorpe to his homeland.

Louella Rehfield's picture
Louella Rehfield
Submitted by Louella Rehfield on
Excellent! The way Mr. Thorpe was treated during his illustrious life-time was an abomination.

bullbear's picture
bullbear
Submitted by bullbear on
Sadly, it took an act of Congress (NAGPRA) to allow all tribal nations to reclaim the remains and religious objects of its people. There is forever a dark chapter in the history of the U.S. with regard to the treatment of the original inhabitants of the lands now referred to as America. I extend my prayers and best wishes to the family as they proceed with interment of the late, great Jim Thorpe to his homeland.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
In the original Sac and Fox lands of western Illinois the "tourism" aspect is becoming increasingly popular. In Oregon IL where the phoney baloney "Blackhawk honorary statue" looms high over the Rock river, there are fake teepees all over town. What the farmers did to the remains of the real Peoples is shameful, at best. I am glad his immediate family lived long enough to see the court battle into a time of more respect. Mr. Jim Thorpe was also much like Blackhawk's own son, noted - even in those times - for being exceptionally handsome.

M. Chenot's picture
M. Chenot
Submitted by M. Chenot on
Bill and Richard Thorpe Victory will prevail and nobody can take that away. Your father was the greatest in lifetime only in my 50s but heard stories of him and how he was a legend back then. Send Jim Thorpes remains home and let him rest in peace...

Rachel Peters's picture
Rachel Peters
Submitted by Rachel Peters on
Many Prayers

alan hall's picture
alan hall
Submitted by alan hall on
jim should go back home where he used to run free.I gave a book report on jim in high school.He is one of my three favorite people from oklahoma,along with mickey mantle and reba.You boys should be proud to be his sons.His achievements will never be matched.Way to go Bill and Richard.

Tim's picture
Tim
Submitted by Tim on
I would hope that funds could be raised to help build whatever monument seen fit by his family on their home grounds. It would be fitting to also found a school in the immediate area for Native American scholar athletes to not only prepare students for success in "modern" sports but perhaps be a gathering place for annual Native American sports competitions ( I would hope open to all). This could drive a resurgence in sports demanding much in spirit, determination and endurance that need little in material to be successful. Jim Thorpe should be a role model for all young American Athletes.

Tim's picture
Tim
Submitted by Tim on
I would hope that funds could be raised to help build whatever monument seen fit by his family on their home grounds. It would be fitting to also found a school in the immediate area for Native American scholar athletes to not only prepare students for success in "modern" sports but perhaps be a gathering place for annual Native American sports competitions ( I would hope open to all). This could drive a resurgence in sports demanding much in spirit, determination and endurance that need little in material to be successful. Jim Thorpe should be a role model for all young American Athletes.

Dan's picture
Dan
Submitted by Dan on
Why are we ignoring the sanctity of marriage? He obviously loved and married a woman, who, as his wife made a determination for her deceased husband. How is it ok to disrespect her? Because she is white?

Shannon dawson's picture
Shannon dawson
Submitted by Shannon dawson on
I wounder if that if ther was a town named "GREED" could we sell the corps of Patricia Thorpe to it.?

R-G Vigil's picture
R-G Vigil
Submitted by R-G Vigil on
This warms my heart. I have little to say of politics and much gratitude to the Great Spirit who calls upon all of us to strengthen ourselves so that we may in turn cradle those in need. Forgive those who scream in victory if the rejoice isn't for the gathering of goodwill and freedom of the spirit. Love those who scream the spirit well!!!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Let Jim Thorpe go 'home' to his people .....let him finally rest in peace.....society would not allow this sort of disrespect for 'white man' burials.

Frederiko Aguilar's picture
Frederiko Aguilar
Submitted by Frederiko Aguilar on
He was my idol. I played all sports most of my life. I was never the greatest, but I was competetive.

Bo Little 's picture
Bo Little
Submitted by Bo Little on
Bring our brother home to his rightful place. Too be with his family and the part of mother earth he so loved. And called home.

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