JIM THORPE IN REGALIA, 1942
Jim Thorpe appeared in over 65 movies, often in uncredited bit parts. Although it disturbed him that Hollywood portrayed Indians either as noble savages or murdering Redskins, he often had to take such parts. Indians usually had no choice other than to conform to such stereotypes if they wanted employment in the movie industry. Thorpe and other Indian athletes had always resented being called "Chief," but more than once, Jim found himself playing a chief, as in one of his first films, "Battling Buffalo Bill."
Thorpe brought all the authenticity he could to his roles, pushing for the use of Indian advisors in the depiction of native culture. Rather than wearing generic Indian costumes, he appeared in his own regalia, including the eagle feather "war bonnet" shown in this photo. The geometric and floral designs on his leggings and moccasins and the beadwork on his regalia reflect Thorpe's Sac and Fox ancestry.