An Inspirational, Educational and Historical Read for Aboriginal Canadians and Sports Enthusiasts
‘Playing the White Man’s Games’ tells the extraordinary stories of Native American athletes who not only overcame tremendous obstacles to play, but dominated the NFL, CFL, PGA, Olympic Games, NHL and professional wrestling.
Jim Thorpe, who ABC TV has dubbed “Athlete of the Century,” began his track and field career by besting the competition on the college varsity high jump team — wearing street shoes—then went on to win gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games. But he didn’t stop there. Next he tackled football, dominating the NCAA and NFL. After that he turned his talents to major
league baseball. In all, Thorpe excelled in every one of the twenty-two sports he attempted … including a national championship in ballroom dancing.
Meet Billy Mills, who improved his best time by an unheard of fifty seconds to win the 10,000-metre Olympic race in “the greatest upset in Olympic history.”
Notah Begay III, the grandson of a Navajo code talker, had played golf only on public courses until he won four PGA tournaments in his first two years on the pro golf tour.
The incomparable Ed “Wahoo” McDaniel was an NFL star who also won hundreds of professional wrestling championships. Along the way he fought thousands of matches, and received over 3,000 stitches. Never one to back down from a challenge, he once washed down a gallon of jalapeño peppers with a quart of motor oil on a dare.
The fascinating stories of these colourful characters, sometimes referred to as the “forgotten Americans,” shows how these Native American were heroes, not only on the field of play, but in their communities, where they were both role models and champions for Native history and culture.
Don Marks is a Winnipeg-based author and producer who has written and directed over 200 films. He is a regular columnist in the Winnipeg Free Press and the Editor of Manitoba’s largest First Nations newspaper, Grassroots News. Raised by a First Nations family after living as a street youth, Don has been blessed with a rewarding career of social and political activism which is expressed through his works in film and publishing. Don is the recipient of many national and international awards, most notably the Manitoba Human Rights Achievement Award, a Gemini Award, CanPro and Native American Journalism Association honors and a Spirit Award at the American Indian film Festival. Don is also the author of They Call Me Chief: Warriors On Ice.