When eleven-year-old Tommy Thompson arrived at a government-run
Indian boarding school in 1915, it seemed a last resort for the
youngster. Instead, it turned out to be the first step toward a
life dedicated to helping others. Thompson went on to become a star
athlete and football coach--a Cherokee legend whose story is
remembered by many and is now finally told for a wider
Following gridiron fame at Northeastern State College, Thompson
returned to Sequoyah Vocational School in 1947 as Boys' Coach and
Advisor. More than a thousand boys attended the boarding school
during the eleven years he coached there. Writing for readers old
and young, Patti Dickinson tells the inspiring story of how this
one man made a difference in the lives of a generation of Indian
Through football, Thompson taught his boys the skills and values
they would need to succeed in life, and twice led his team to the
state finals. Dickinson describes the success of that program,
including one epic, rain-soaked championship game. She paints
compelling portraits of Thompson's boys--the men whose firsthand
stories and reminiscences form the basis of the narrative--and
re-creates daily life at the school.
To his boys, Thompson was Ah-sky-uh, "the man," a Cherokee term
of respect. Half a century after his death, Sequoyah High School
still reveres his memory. This book secures his place in history as
it opens a new window on the boarding school experience.
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