Jancita Warrington

"How the Golden Years of Haskell Football's Quest for Equity Helped Change a Nation"

MON MAR 29, 7:30 PM via

For the Indigenous people of North America, the evolving sport of American football in the 1920s was more than a game. Haskell’s ultimate goal was to assert Native equality, not only in athletics but in affirming their cultural identities. Jancita Warrington, independent Native scholar, KU alum, and Simons Public Humanities Fellow at the Hall Center, will tell a history well-documented but rarely told otherwise. This story highlights the rise of the Haskell Indian football team and its dominance on the field from 1923-1926. The personal stories of challenges, obstacles, and triumphs experienced by the players are unequaled as they pursued recognition for the race of Indigenous peoples. From Haskell’s All-American John Levi, who Jim Thorpe called the greatest athlete he’s ever seen, to Mayes McClain, who earned the highest scoring record in college football history - these young leaders would shape how the American public would perceive Indigenous people for decades to come. Not just phenomenal athletes, these men were mentors to younger Indigenous generations and educators in the Humanities, leaving legacies in ways that are still experienced in communities today. The Haskell Indians’ pursuit of equality built a foundation that was supported with the demonstration of Tribal sovereignty that constructed the Haskell Stadium and World War I Memorial Archway. This historic stadium went on to serve the Lawrence community for another 90 years and still stands proud in east Lawrence today.

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