Jack Thorpe, 72, of Shawnee, Okla., sued in federal court in Scranton, saying he had waited until the last of his half-sisters died to avoid a family conflict over the lawsuit.
“The bones of my father do not make or break your town,” Jack Thorpe, a past chief of the Sac and Fox tribe, said of the defendants, who include numerous current and former town officials. “I resent using my father as a tourist attraction.”
His father, a native Oklahoman born into the tribe, overcame humble roots to win the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics. Jim Thorpe later earned enviable sums playing professional football and baseball, and somewhat less playing the Indian in B-list Hollywood movies, then struggled financially before his March 1953 death in California at age 64.
In a bizarre deal to draw tourists, the merging towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk, Pa., brokered a deal with Thorpe’s ambitious third wife that renamed the community Jim Thorpe in 1954 and brought his remains to a corner of the Pocono Mountains that he likely never saw.
Tags: 1912 Olympics, buffalo post, East Mauch Chunk, Gwen Florio, Jack Thorpe, Jim Thorpe, King Gustav V, Mauch Chunk, Native American athletes, Native American news, Poconos, Sac and Fox Tribe, Shawnee