chapter  3
The Mythical Jim Thorpe: Re/presenting the Twentieth Century American Indian
ByMark Rubinfeld
Pages 23

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.