In the autumn of 1912, the football team from Carlisle Indian Industrial School took the field at the U.S. Military Academy, home to the bigger, stronger, and better-equipped West Points Cadets. Sportswriters billed the game as a sort of rematch, pitting against each other the descendants of U.S. soldiers and American Indians who fought on the battlefield only 20 years earlier. But for lightning-fast Jim Thorpe and the other Carlisle players, that day’s game was about skill, strategy, and determination. Known for unusual formations and innovative plays, the Carlisle squad was out to prove just one thing―that it was the best football team in all the land.
About the Author
Art Coulson, Cherokee, was an award-winning journalist and the first executive director of the Wilma Mankiller Foundation in Oklahoma. His first children’s book, The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe/Lacrosse (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013), told of the deep spiritual and cultural connections of American Indian people to the sport of lacrosse. Art still plays traditional Cherokee stickball, an original version of lacrosse, when he is visiting friends and family in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Art lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with his wife and two daughters.