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Sac and Fox Nation disappointed by denial of Jim Thorpe case

Olympic legend Jim Thorpe of the Sac and Fox Nation. Photo from Bibliothèque nationale de France

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition in Sac and Fox Nation v. Borough of Jim Thorpe, dealing a blow to the campaign to rebury the remains of the legendary athlete Jim Thorpe.

The Sac and Fox Nation and Thorpe's surviving sons sought to return the remains to Oklahoma, where he was due to be buried in 1953. Bu the justices refused to hear their appeal in an order list that didn't explain why.

“We are disappointed of the fact this is his family, this is his nation,” Chief Kay Rhoads told News9.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 recognizes the rights of lineal descendants and tribe to reclaim their ancestors. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, however, determined that the landmark law does not apply to the Olympic gold medalist. The October 2014 decision will now stand.

“Is it really justice when you haven’t even looked at something? I really honestly believe if somebody looked at that case, read that case and understood it, that they would heard it,” Sandra Massey, the tribe's historic preservation officer, told KGOU.

Despite the setback, an attorney for Thorpe's sons suggested the controversy was not over. Stephen Ward told The Tulsa World that his clients are considering options.

"It’s a little premature to talk about them," Ward told the paper. "But, for example, there might be legislative options."

Political intervention might be the only way to pressure the Borough of Jim Thorpe to return the remains. Jim Thorpe's resting place is considered a tourist and public interest attraction.

"I think that as more and more people become aware, I think that’s bound to have some sort of impact on the resolution of the case," University of Oklahoma law professor Lindsay Robertson told KGOU.

Get the Story:
US Supreme Court Rejects Appeal To Move Jim Thorpe's Body Back To OK (News9 10/5)
Supreme Court Rejects Appeal To Move Jim Thorpe's Remains To Oklahoma (KGOU 10/5)
Supreme Court Denies Appeal Seeking Return of Jim Thorpe's Remains (Reuters 10/5)
Justices reject appeal from Jim Thorpe’s sons over reburial (AP 10/5)
U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Jim Thorpe, other Oklahoma cases (The Oklahoman 10/6)
U.S. Supreme Court lets Jim Thorpe's body stay in Pennsylvania, but controversy continues (The Tulsa World 10/6)
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Jim Thorpe Appeal (The New York Times 10/6)
Put to rest: Jim Thorpe’s body to stay in place (The Hazleton Standard Speaker 10/6)

3rd Circuit Decision:
John Thorpe v. Borough of Jim Thorpe (October 23, 2014)

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