Archive for the 'Louis Tewanima' Category

“Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912″ (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012)

Click to download article (23 pages)

In the summer of 2010, I started writing an article titled “Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912.” The article was recently published in the Western Historical Quarterly (Autumn 2012, Vol. 43.3, pp. 324-346), which is the official journal of the Western History Association.

Louis Tewanima was from the village of Shungopavi on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. In January 1907, he and ten other Hopis traveled to Pennsylvania to attend the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. While at Carlisle, Tewanima received fame and notoriety by winning several running events, which gave him opportunities to compete in the 1908 (London) and 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. At the Stockholm Olympics, he won the silver medal in the 10,000 meter race.

Over the years, a number of people, especially non-Hopi individuals, have written about Louis Tewanima. The majority of the scholarly literature on Tewanima is found in Peter Nabokov’s Indian Running or larger narratives on Natives and sports, most notably Joseph B. Oxendine’s American Indian Sport Heritage and John Bloom’s To Show What an Indian Can Do.

Although popular audiences often read Tewanima’s story in newspaper articles, magazines, and books, these publications tend to focus on his participation in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, and many of them perpetuate a romantic portrayal of Tewanima by retelling accounts of him running after rabbits as a young man and running to Winslow, Arizona, “just to see the trains [go by].”

Contrary to one contemporary writer who noted that Tewanima was “almost totally forgotten,” scholars have remained intrigued by his accomplishments, although they are often overshadowed by accounts of his Carlisle teammate, Sac and Fox athlete Jim Thorpe. While references to Tewanima grace the pages of many articles and books, further studies are needed, particularly ones that interpret his accomplishments within the contexts of Hopi and American sport culture.

In my article I argue that Tewanima’s story represents his ability to redefine Hopi running in the twentieth century and shows how he maneuvered within American and European perceptions of Natives and sports. His participation in running events also tells of a time when white Americans situated indigenous people on the fringes of U.S. society but embraced them when they brought honors to the country by representing the nation in athletic competitions at home and abroad.

Furthermore, Tewanima’s involvement in marathons and Olympic races demonstrates the ways Americans used his success to advance the ideals of U.S. nationalism as he simultaneously continued the long tradition of running among his people.

A number of individuals helped me along the way as I conducted research and revised the article for publication, especially my colleagues in the American Indian Studies Program, and the Department of History at the University of Illinois. I am also thankful for the assistance of various Hopi individuals, including Tewanima’s relatives, the remarkable editorial staff of the Western Historical Quarterly, the Journal’s three anonymous reviewers, and officials with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office for their support of my work.

If you would like to download a copy of my essay, please visit the following link: http://beyondthemesas.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/marathoner-louis-tewanima-and-the-continuity-of-hopi-running-1908-1912-whq-autumn-2012.pdf

Upcoming talk at the Louis Tewanima Footrace Pre-Race Dinner

On Sunday September 2, the Louis Tewanima Footrace Committee will host the annual Footrace at the village of Shungopavi on Second Mesa. This year is a particularly special one as the Committee is organizing the event to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of Louis Tewanima’s silver medal performance in the 10,000 meter Olympic race in Stockholm, Sweden.

In addition to running in the 10K, I have been asked by race officials to speak on Tewanima at the pre-race dinner the night before on September 1. I am scheduled to speak at 7:00PM (MST) at the Shungopavi Community Center. The pre-race dinner is free and open to the public. For more information on the Footrace, and to obtain registration materials, please visit the following website: http://tewanimafootrace.org/

Indian Country Today: The Summer Games Are the Native Games

On July 31, Indian Country Today published a nice write-up on past Native athletes and the Olympic Games. Scroll down on the article to read about Hopi runner Louis Tewanima.

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Click image for full story

Smithsonian to host exhibit on Native Olympic athletes

This Friday May 25, the Smithsonian will open an exhibit titled “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics.” The exhibit will feature Jim Thorpe, Duke Kahanamoku, Andrew Sockalexis, Billy Mills, and Hopi runner Louis Tewanima of Shungopavi on Second Mesa.

The Smithsonian has a nice write-up about the event on its website:

On the 100th anniversary of the Olympic Games in which athletes Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox), Duke Kahanamoku (Native Hawaiian), Andrew Sockalexis (Penobscot) and Lewis Tewanima (Hopi) represented the United States in Stockholm, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics.” The exhibition opens Friday, May 25.

In 1912, Thorpe swept both the pentathlon and decathlon at the Olympic Games, becoming the first and only Olympian to accomplish such a feat and earning the accolades of King Gustav V of Sweden, who proclaimed Thorpe to be “the greatest athlete in the world.” Thorpe was joined that year by fellow Native teammates Kahanamoku, who won the 100-meter freestyle; Sockalexis, who placed fourth in the marathon; and Tewanima, who won the silver medal and set an American record for the 10,000 meters that stood for more than 50 years until Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota) won the gold medal in Tokyo in 1964.

Louis Tewanima competed in the 1908 (London) and 1912 (Stockholm) Olympic Games. For those who might be interested, I have written an article on Tewanima titled “Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912,” which will appear soon in the Western Historical Quarterly.

Arizona Republic highlights Louis Tewanima

At the end of January, I wrote a post about recent articles on Native runners. In this post, I mentioned that as the 2012 Olympic Games in London approaches, we should expect to see an increase in the number of articles being published on Native athletes, especially long distance runners.

With that in mind, I want to direct you to an article that Jeff Metcalfe published last week titled “Louis Tewanima was Arizona’s sports icon in 2012″ in the Arizona Republic. Most of the material for Metcalfe’s article came from previously published sources, including Kate Buford’s Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe and Bill Crawford’s All American: The Rise and Fall of Jim Thorpe

I also wrote an article on Tewanima titled “Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912.” The essay is scheduled to appear in the August 2012 edition of the Western Historical Quarterly – the official journal of the Western History Association.

Photographs of the 37th Annual Louis Tewanima Footrace

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Photographs by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

I arrived at the village of Shungopavi at 5:30 in the morning. A crowd of people gathered at the baseball field. An event volunteer welcomed everyone to the race and gave instructions to the runners.

“The 10K race will begin in 20 minutes” he announced.

A large camera and flash hung around my neck. “Hey, are you with the press?” one man asked. “No, ” I replied, “I am working on a project with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office on runners. I’m here to photograph the event.”

“The 10K race will begin in 5 minutes” the person behind the megaphone announced.

The runners gathered around the start line. The race had officially begun. Ten seconds later, the runners were gone.

I made my way to the southeast side of the village. The sun had not yet risen over First Mesa. In the valley below, a running trail etched its way through the rocky landscape.

“Any sight of the runners” I asked. “Not yet” a man replied. Everyone waited.

After 25 minutes, the first runner appeared in the distance. It was Hopi runner Juwan Nuvayokva from Oraivi. He ran with ease and strength, showing few signs of fatigue.

On the opposite end of the village 5K runners were climbing their way up the mesa. I arrived to see my father make the final push to the top.

Back at the baseball field the 1 and 2 mile fun runs had started. Children of all ages ran toward the camera.

People clapped and cheered as the youngest runner approached the finish. It was a perfect way to end the race.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

———————————————

Throughout the week I will be adding more photographs to the slideshow, so be sure to check back.

If you or a family member are pictured in the above slideshow, and you would like a high resolution copy of the photograph, please email me at sakiestewa@gmail.com. I want to also extend a special thanks to Bonnie Talakte, Catherine Talakte, and other event organizers for granting me permission to photograph the 37th Annual Louis Tewanima Footrace on Second Mesa.


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an associate professor of American Indian Studies & History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930″, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers': Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909″, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

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