For generations, Native American stories and representation have been stolen. From Thanksgiving to sports mascots, from Hollywood to history books, Native stories are overwritten by white media and historians.
This changes now.
It’s time to rewrite history and finally tell the truth — from Native Americans, for all to honor and celebrate. As an icon and hero to so many Indigenous people across North America and beyond, we’re starting with setting the record straight with legendary athlete, Jim Thorpe.
This petition is just the first step in a series of initiatives tied to Bright Path — an upcoming feature film from Pictureworks Entertainment.
You Can Help!
Bright Path Strong was created to share and amplify authentic Native American voices and stories, past and present. Representation matters, and it’s time we shine a light on our real history, our people, and our resilience — in our own words.
Support Bright Path Strong’s mission to amplify Native stories & voices and give a direct donation today to keep this movement growing in 2021. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) organization.
Who We Are
Nedra Darling, a citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and a proud Cherokee Nation descendent, co-founder of Bright Path Strong and an executive producer of the forthcoming feature film Bright Path. She co-produced the award winning documentary Surviving Columbus while director of the nation’s first American Indian Film and Video center at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Nedra devoted her 35 year federal government career to celebrating and uplifting American Indian and Alaska Native peoples and continues her work for Indian Country by telling our truths in movies.
Chris Taylor is a citizen of the Chitimacha Tribe (Sitimaxa), co-director and co-founder of the non-profit BRIGHT PATH STRONG. He has devoted numerous years as an executive producer to ensure Tribal participation and partnerships in the upcoming feature film BRIGHT PATH. He is also co-founder of 4D Products and Services, a native sales and distribution company.
Dennis Hendricks is a member of the Tuolumne Band of Me Wuk Indians and a dedicated team member of Bright Path Strong. He served two terms as Tribal Chairman. He has numerous years of leadership experience with the following tribal organizations in an effort to promote Tribal Sovereignty, respect for Tribal Nations, and empowering self determination. CRIHB, NIHB, NCAI, NIGA, NAFOA, and CNIGA
Abraham Taylor is a board member and co-founder of the non-profit BRIGHT PATH STRONG. He has spent the past several years leading the effort as a writer and producer working with tribes, tribal people, and the Thorpe family to bring the life of legendary athlete Jim Thorpe to a worldwide movie-going audience.
Josh Aker is a board member and co-founder of the non-profit BRIGHT PATH STRONG. He is an Executive Producer on the forthcoming film, BRIGHT PATH, and has spent the past several years writing for and producing documentary footage of the development of the movie.
Honorary Board Members
Martin Sensmeier, the actor who will be portraying Jim Thorpe in the forthcoming Pictureworks Entertainment production, Bright Path is part of the Tingit and Koyukon/Athabaskan tribe of Alaska. He is an Ambassador for both the Native Wellness Institute, where he advocates for wellness amongst Native people of all Nations and The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. His credits include feature films, The Magnificent Seven, Wind River, The Last Man Hunt, The Chickasaw Rancher, as well as the Netflix miniseries, The Liberator. Martin also did multi-episode appearances on both Yellowstone and Westworld.
Billy Mills grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Billy did not have an easy childhood. Surrounded by poverty and orphaned at the age of 12, he started running to channel his energy into something positive. In high school, his gift for running become more apparent as he set records in numerous track events. At the 1964 Olympics, he shocked the world and came from behind to win the gold medal in the 10,000 meters race. At the time, he set a world record of 28 minutes, 24.4 seconds and is still the only American to ever win a gold medal in the 10 m event. His win was an upset that has been called the second greatest moment in Olympic history. In Lakota culture, someone who achieves great success has a ‘giveaway’ to thank the support system of family and friends who helped him achieve his goal. As part of his effort to give back to his community, Billy helped found Running Strong for American Indian Youth and became the organization’s National Spokesperson.
Mary Thorpe is Sac & Fox and Absentee Shawnee from Shawnee, Oklahoma and the daughter of John“Jack”Thorpe and Matilda Thorpe and granddaughter of Jim Thorpe. In addition to her work for Luxe Care, a private duty care agency, she thrives on keeping the legacy of Jim Thorpe alive by sharing the stories, power of humanitarianism, love, and spiritual healing of the Native American People and her culture.
Teresa Thorpe is of Sac and Fox, Citizen Band Potawatomi and Kickapoo heritage from my father’s side of the family. She is the daughter of Carl Phillip Thorpe, Jim Thorpe’s eldest son. Currently retired and living in Springfield, Missouri, she takes care of her mother who has Alzheimer’s. Her degrees have been in advanced Organizational Management and Training Development, but her real love has always been Native American issues. When living in D.C. she worked for several years at a national American Indian foundation as a public relations specialist and was the east coast director of Unite Now Indian Olympic Nation (UNION). She feels the spirit of her grandfather’s given appellation, “Akapamata,” Sac and Fox for “Caregiver,” and credits that to him and to my ancestors. She has carried that with her and passed the benevolent tradition to her twins, Ryan and Chenoa’s generation. Teresa believes the concept of Native American clan is the embodiment of caring for one another within the clan, a simple notion lost in today’s hurried world.
Anita Thorpe, daughter of Richard Thorpe, was born in Oklahoma and is a member of the Sac & Fox Tribe. She began her work career by enlisting in the U.S. Army as a Satellite/Microwave Repair Technician. She met her husband in Darmstadt, Germany and together they had two children Dakota and Alec. Thorpe has worked for the State of Oklahoma for the last 18 years and is currently a contract procurement officer for the Oklahoma Military Department. She also serves on the Sac & Fox Gaming Commission and is a board member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Richard Thorpe carried on his father Jim’s tradition by spending quality parenting time outdoors, fishing and hunting with his children; a tradition Anita has carried on with her children and grandson Zev Thorpe.
Robert W. Wheeler
Emmy Award-winner Bob Wheeler co-founded the Jim Thorpe Foundation with his wife, Dr. Florence Ridlon. Jim’s son, Lt. Colonel Carl Phillip Thorpe, was insistent that full credit for the International Olympic Committee’s decision to restore his father’s gold medals be given to “Bob and Florence, who even put their own careers aside for it.” He is an executive producer for the upcoming feature film about Jim Thorpe, Bright Path, which is based on his book, Jim Thorpe: World’s Greatest Athlete. The editor of PRO, the official magazine of the National Football League, reviewed his biography of Jim as the “definitive volume on Thorpe.” Bob’s career includes managing public relations for ABC Sports, FOX Sports, and the White House Conference for Children and Youth as well as forming his and his wife’s public relations company, Wheeler/Ridlon Communications.
Dr. Florence Ridlon
Florence Ridlon received a PhD in Sociology from Syracuse University. She was the co-founder of the Jim Thorpe Foundation which is credited with the return of Thorpe’s Olympic gold medals and records, and she is a technical advisor for the forthcoming movie Bright Path. She has published two books: A Fallen Angel: The Status Insularity of the Female Alcoholic and A Black Physicians Struggle for Civil Rights: Edward C. Mazique, M.D. She and her husband, Bob Wheeler, own the public relations firm, Wheeler/Ridlon Communications.