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Town Fights to Keep Jim Thorpe's Body

Jim Thorpe Borough will to appeal judge's ruling that Thorpe's two sons had the right under American Indian ancestral law to move his remains from Pa. to Oklahoma

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Jim Thorpe is considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th Century.

    A Pennsylvania town named after the legendary Native American athlete and Olympic medalist Jim Thorpe could loose its namesake. Jim Thorpe Borough Council has voted to appeal a federal judge's order to relinquish the famed athlete's remains so they can be  reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma.

    Thorpe's sons sued the northeastern Pennsylvania borough claiming the town amounts to a museum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. But Jim Thorpe officials tell WFMZ-TV they'll challenge that assertion, saying the borough isn't a “federally funded” museum under the law despite receiving “trickle-down” federal funding through development grants.

    A federal judge agreed with Thorpe's sons last month sayig they had the right under American Indian ancestral law to move his remains from Pa. to the Sac and Fox lands in Oklahoma where he was raised.

    Thorpe was buried in Pennsylvania after his third wife made a deal with two merging towns to name the new town after Thorpe, who died in 1953.

    The borough says the appeal will be cheaper than complying with the judge's order.

    Thorpe, widely considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th Century, played professional baseball, football and won two Olympic gold medals.