Posts Tagged ‘1908 Olympics’

Carlisle Indians Continue to be Snubbed

March 11, 2011

The 2011 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame came out this week with Lone Star Dietz’s name removed. This is yet another snub to a Carlisle Indian School player. Dietz has also been snubbed by the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as a demonstration of their ingratitude. After all, where would the Rose Bowl be without Dietz? Nothing the College Football Hall of Fame does surprises me anymore. A few years ago, when Dietz should have been inducted, the selection committee ignored the votes for the seven coaches on that year’s ballot and selected two coaches who were not on the ballot because they were not eligible for induction due to the fact that they were still actively coaching. So, the ironically named Honors Committee, in an Animal Farm-like move, changed the rules to make these two eligible and selected them even though no voter received a ballot with their names on it. Unfortunately, Dietz isn’t the only Carlisle Indian to be snubbed by a Hall of Fame.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has failed to induct Olympian Frank Mt. Pleasant into even a regional chapter is astounding. If Mt. Pleasant’s football and track accomplishments at Carlisle aren’t enough, consider what he did elsewhere in Pennsylvania. That he has already been inducted in both the Dickinson College and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Halls of Fame indicates that he accomplished quite a bit while at each of those institutions on top of what he did at Carlisle. Frank is no stranger to being snubbed, as Walter Camp, who only gave him Honorable Mention on his 1907 All America team for being not rugged enough because he was too injured to play in the Chicago game, the Indians’ 11th game of the season. I’m not holding my breath for the PA Sports Hall of Fame doing the right thing anymore than I am for the College Football HoF. But these aren’t the only Carlisle Indians deserving of honors.

The College Football Hall of Fame does not have a category for athletic trainers but it does have a catch-all category called contributor, though. Wall ace Denny pioneered the role of athletic trainer first as a student at the Indian school and, later, as a member of the staff, and for decades after that with Pop Warner at Stanford and Temple. Before Denny started assisting Pop Warner with the care of the players’ bodies, there was no such thing as an athletic trainer as we know it. But Wallace Denny changed all that and should be remembered for it.

If Carlisle Indian School had a large alumni organization and could guarantee large ticket sales for induction events, these men might have a chance, but they don’t and little money would be raised by their selection.

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Frank Mt. Pleasant

August 18, 2008

Perhaps because this is the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Olympics, Ed Farnham, grandnephew of Frank Mt. Pleasant, has been deluged by the media for interviews. Numerous newspaper and television reporters in the Buffalo, NY area, where Ed lived and the Olympic athlete lived, have been calling Ed constantly. Some of the newspaper articles are available on-line. Links to them are provided at the bottom of this piece. So far, none of the TV video has been posted on-line, but if it is in the future, I will provide a link to it.

 

Although this media attention comes at a cost to Mr. Farnham, he probably views it as a good thing because Frank Mt. Pleasant, viewed at the time as the best all-around athlete of his day, has been largely forgotten. These interviews give Ed the opportunity to better educate the public regarding the Tuscarora people and their contributions. One of the ways he does that is to direct them to the Native American Museum of Art (NAMA) which is located inside Smokin’ Joe’s Trading Post where he is general manager. Frank Mt. Pleasant’s medals are on display amongst the other Native American art and artifacts. The recent publicity should encourage more people to visit the museum and learn more about both the track star and his people.

 

In my small way I’m trying to correct the slight to Frank Mt. Pleasant a bit. In addition to devoting a chapter in Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs to him, I have nominated him for induction into the local chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the first step in getting him inducted into the statewide HoF. Dickinson College and Indiana University of Pennsylvania have already inducted him into their halls of fame.

 

Native American Museum at Smokin’ Joe’s: http://www.nativeamericanmuseumart.com/

Buffalo News article: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/411478.html

More about the museum: http://buffalo.yourhub.com/NiagaraFalls/Stories/Sports/Professional/Story~503924.aspx

 

 

Native Americans in the 1908 Olympics

July 24, 2008

The 1908 Olympic Games were held in London, something that required Carlisle Indian School track stars Frank Mt. Pleasant and Lewis Tewanima to cross the Atlantic with the bulk of the U.S. contingent on the steamer Philadelphia. Neither arrived in the best condition. Mt. Pleasant had an injured ligament in his knee and Tewanima was suffering from sore feet and bad knees. The Hopi’s ninth place finish in the marathon was a great performance for a person who, a year prior to this, had not before worn a running shoe. He finished ahead of all the great British runners and Tom Longboat of Canada. Longboat, an Onondaga from the Six Nations reservation near Brantford, Ontario, was leading the race when he fell ill and withdrew from the race. The year before he had established himself as a world-class marathoner by winning the Boston Marathon in record time.

Frank Mt. Pleasant, Tuscarora, also competed as best he could given his condition and finished sixth in both the broad jump and triple jump. Later that summer in Paris, he and Tewanima got a chance to show their stuff in a competition with some other Olympians. Mt. Pleasant won the broad jump by defeating both Frank Irons, the Olympic champion, and Edwin Cook of Cornell, the American intercollegiate champion. Lewis Tewanima came in second in the 3-mile race.

Upon their return to the U. S. Mt. Pleasant and Tewanima visited President Roosevelt and, in New York, were presented with medals in addition to the ones they won in Europe. New Yorkers paid $3,100 for the medals they gave to the members of the Olympic team.

Frank Pierce did not compete in the 1908 Olympics because he died of pneumonia earlier in the year.

Next time we take a look at the later Olympics.

Lewis Tewanima, Hopi distance runner

Lewis Tewanima, Hopi distance runner