Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912


Location: 120 DeBartolo Hall, University of Notre Dame

Native American Initiatives is pleased to welcome Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert for his discussion of “Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912."


Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona and is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies & History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in history from the University of California, Riverside, and M.A. in theology from Talbot School of Theology.


In January 1907, Hopi runner Louis Tewanima from northeastern Arizona enrolled at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. While at Carlisle, Tewanima joined the school’s cross-country team and won numerous races and earned the opportunity to compete in the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympic Games. Tewanima’s story represents his ability to redefine Hopi running in the twentieth century and shows how he maneuvered within American and European perceptions of Natives and sports. His participation in running events also tells of a time when white Americans situated indigenous people on the fringes of U.S. society but embraced them when they brought honors to the country by representing the nation in athletic competitions at home and abroad. Furthermore, Tewanima’s involvement in marathons and Olympic races demonstrates the ways Americans used his success to further the ideals of U.S. nationalism as he simultaneously continued the long tradition of running among his people.


This is event is free and open to the public.

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