NCAI Partners with Bright Path Strong and Pictureworks Entertainment to Support the Jim Thorpe “Take Back What Was Stolen” Movement

Published on Jul 31, 2020

NCAI Partners with Bright Path Strong and Pictureworks Entertainment to Support the Jim Thorpe “Take Back What Was Stolen” Movement

WASHINGTON, DC | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is proud to join forces with Pictureworks Entertainment and tribal partners across the country to “Take Back What Was Stolen,” an initiative to restore legendary Native American athlete and icon Jim Thorpe’s status as the sole gold medal champion of the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon.

This initiative is taking root on the heels of the 108th anniversary of Jim Thorpe’s historic victory at the Summer Games in Stockholm, where he competed on behalf of the United States of America, and in response to a resolution put forward by Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. According to Haaland, “Anyone who represented our country in the Olympics is an American hero, especially those that delivered two gold medals to the United States. These heroic individuals should be recognized and honored, but inherent biases stole that from Jim Thorpe because he was Native American. The “Take Back What Was Stolen” initiative is a call to action to right past wrongs so that records reflect Jim Thorpe’s incredible achievements and preserve his legacy.” 

“Jim Thorpe Wathahuck-Brightpath, of the Thunder Clan of the Sac and Fox Tribe competed for this country at a time when American Indians and Alaska Natives were not recognized as U.S. citizens. To keep him removed from history is to continue the erasure of Native people,” says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “Native people deserve honor and heroes, and this is how we view Jim Thorpe. For these reasons, NCAI strongly urges the Olympic Committee to restore honor to Thorpe’s name and to his family by designating Jim Thorpe as the sole gold medal winner of both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics.”

“Picture Works Entertainment and Bright Path Strong are thankful and energized by the support of NCAI and the Honorable Congresswoman Haaland. And thank you to the more than 23,000 people that have signed the petition so far. In today’s environment, it is unacceptable to let the wrong records stand for the World’s Greatest Native American Athlete,” said Nedra Darling, Executive Producer, Bright Path, and Co-Founder of Bright Path Strong. “Native people have had enough stolen from us, our languages, our lands, our culture and it is now the time to take back what was stolen from our Sac and Fox and Potawatomi hero and reinstate Jim Thorpe’s original and correct Olympic records!” 

For more information regarding this initiative and to sign the petition to support this effort, please visit


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit

About BRIGHT PATH and Pictureworks Entertainment:

The “Take Back What Was Stolen” petition is just the first in a series of initiatives tied to BRIGHT PATH – the upcoming feature film about Jim Thorpe’s life and legacy from Pictureworks Entertainment. Join the movement and sign the petition at

*Pictureworks Entertainment Tribal partners in BRIGHT PATH : The Tuolumne Band of Mewuk Indians, The Mohegan Tribe, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, The Tonto Apache Tribe, The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Mewuk Indians of California, Sealaska Corporation, and Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.

Subscribe to our News RSS