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The Oorang Indians: Breaking Barriers and Changing the Game

Oorang Indians 1922 football team

Hey there, NDN All-Stars fans! Today, let’s take a trip back in time to the fascinating world of football in the 1920s. You might have heard of legendary teams like the Packers and the Bears, but have you ever heard about the Oorang Indians? These guys weren’t just a football team; they were trailblazers who changed the game and broke down cultural barriers along the way.

Imagine a time when football was still finding its footing on the professional stage. The year was 1922, and the Oorang Indians burst onto the scene like a whirlwind. Hailing from LaRue, Ohio, this team was special – made up entirely of Native American players – Cherokee, Mohawk, Chippewa, Blackfeet, Winnebago, Mission, Caddo, Flathead, Sac and Fox, Seneca, and Penobscot to list a few represented tribes. Led by the charismatic NDN All-Star #1 Jim Thorpe (Sac & Fox) – a true sports legend – the Oorang Indians brought their unique skills and culture to the field, catching the attention of football fans across the nation.

Now, let’s talk about impact. The Oorang Indians weren’t just about playing football; they were about making a statement. In an era where racial prejudice was sadly prevalent, these athletes showed the world that talent and determination knew no boundaries. By showcasing their skills on the football field, they shattered stereotypes and challenged the status quo, paving the way for a more diverse future in professional sports.

But it wasn’t just about playing the game. The Oorang Indians did something nobody had seen before. They brought their culture center stage, performing halftime shows that celebrated Native American traditions. From dances to showcasing their impressive hunting skills, these shows captivated audiences and gave people a chance to learn and appreciate a culture they might not have been familiar with.

The legacy of the Oorang Indians lives on in the history of football. They might not have won championships, but they won hearts and minds. Their courage to stand up against discrimination and showcase their heritage left an indelible mark. As the years went by, their influence helped pave the way for more diversity in professional sports, making it clear that the field is a place for everyone, regardless of where they come from.

So, the next time you’re watching a football game, take a moment to appreciate the Oorang Indians’ trailblazing spirit. They didn’t just play football; they tackled prejudice, they intercepted stereotypes, and they scored big for diversity. Their story reminds us that sports are about more than just winning – they’re about breaking down barriers and inspiring change.

Find out more about the Oorang Indians in this great book:

Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe, and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL’s Most Famous Traveling Team

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