By Travis Waldron
But the most absurd part of Tulsa’s Olympic bid amazingly isn’t the bid itself—it’s that organizers apparently think incorporating the Trail of Tears on the Olympic torch route as a “nod to the state’s American Indian history” is a good idea:
Tulsa Disavows Olympics Bid Using Trail of Tears as Sales Pitch
The press conference, called by Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Hoyt, was set up to make it clear that a 2024 Summer Olympic Games bid was not an official city effort, at least not anymore.
The original idea for the bid came from Neil Mavis, who moved to Tulsa from Atlanta in 1997. Mavis was living in Atlanta when that city successfully bid to host the 1996 Summer Games, and that effort was his inspiration for trying to bring the massive sporting event to Tulsa. According to the Tulsa World, "Mavis made a pitch to the City Council in August 2009, when the Olympic Exploratory Committee included then-Councilor John Eagleton.
"In April 2011, the mayor and all nine councilors signed letters asking the U.S. Olympic Committee to invite Tulsa to make a bid.
"More recently, this May, Bartlett signed a letter designating Mavis as the mayor's official representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee 'to advance the city of Tulsa's interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics.' Mavis even got to use city of Tulsa business cards."
Although Bartlett and Hoyt emphasized that the logistics and cost of staging the Games would likely be beyond anything Tulsa could reasonably do (it's estimated the Olympics would cost $5 billion, more than half the state of Oklahoma's annual budget), uproar in Indian country over Mavis's Tulsa2024 website's outrageous use of the Trail of Tears atrocity as a sales pitch must have been a factor in their decision to call this press conference to distance the city from the effort--at least it's hoped so.
Tulsa2024.com states: "Over half of the States in the USA are of Native American origin. The Olympic Torch would travel though these Native American named states and follow one, or more of the many Trail of Tears to Indian Territory, and end in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Cherokee Nation. The Olympic Torch would then travel from Tahlequah, OK to Tulsa to the start of the 2024 Games."
Tulsa's Olympics Bid Involves Shitty Trail of Tears Gimmick
By Meagan Hatcher-Mays
I’m just spitballin’ ideas here, but you know what might be a better way to honor the Native Americans of Oklahoma? How about addressing the fact that almost 30% of them in Oklahoma live below the poverty line? What about dealing with the health issues faced by the Native American population in your state? Native Americans suffer from higher rates of depression, PTSD, high blood pressure and diabetes. I know that organizing a parade celebrating an open flame at the end of stick probably sounds like a lot more fun than devoting effort to any of these problems, but maybe investing resources in some of your most vulnerable citizens might be a better way to go.