I’m a big fan of music. I’m really into it, and a big influence for me has been a band that used to be called A Tribe Called Red, and they now go by The Halluci Nation. Not only are they incredible artists whose songs I jam out to all the time, but their concerts showcase more than just Indigenous music — they’re incredible. They’ve got dancing and lots of other cultural elements all integrated into the show. They’ve been such a strong, important voice for Canadian Indigenous peoples, and they played a huge role in bringing Indigenous culture and issues to the mainstream.
Jim Thorpe. Growing up in central Pennsylvania and being involved with sports, the Thorpe name was always talked about out here. He attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which is also known as the U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks, where he was a two-time All-American under Pop Warner.
After leaving Carlisle, he went to the Olympics, and he ended up being the first Native American to win a gold medal for the U.S. in the 1912 Olympics. Even more remarkable about that story is that right beforehand, somebody stole his shoes before he was due to compete. And he actually went out, found a pair of mismatched replacements (pulled one right out of a trash can), and at the end of the day, it didn’t matter; he still won the gold. He accomplished these athletic feats during a time of severe inequality in the U.S. It’s often been suggested that his Olympic medals were stripped by athletic officials because of his ethnicity. At the time when Thorpe won his gold medals, not all Native Americans were recognized as U.S. citizens.
And also, in a poll that was published around 2000, they wanted to know who the greatest athlete was in the 20th century. You had names on there like Jordan, Gretzky, Ali, Ruth, and Jesse Owens, and Jim Thorpe was voted the greatest athlete of the 20th century.