This article examines the social signiﬁcance of Jim Thorpe as a pivotal ﬁgure in twentieth-century American history, exploring representations of Thorpe in the context of
his life and times, the entities that produced these representations, and the social consequences of their productions. In a century in which attitudes about, deﬁnitions of and policies towards Native Americans were dramatically reshaped, Thorpe’s life story
had tremendous popular appeal and symbolic signiﬁcance for both Native Americans and non-Native Americans. A closer look at how this story was framed, by whom and for
what purposes, offers critical insights into the role that representations played – and continue to play – in producing, legitimating and occasionally challenging systems of
power and privilege in the United States.