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Native Americans in Sports

When asked for the name of the greatest American athlete of the early part of the 20th century, far and away the most often named athlete is Jim Thorpe.

You may be asking, "Who was Jim Thorpe and why do I need to know who he is?"

Jim Thorpe was important not only as the most famous Native American athlete ever, but for the role he played in American history. A member of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden, Thorpe was a product of Indian boarding schools, which, while they stripped Native American children and teens of their culture, families and language, were also fertile ground at the time for developing Native American athletes.

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