Seemingly in response to a tidal wave of opposition, county officials in Kentucky on Thursday pulled a controversial element from its annual 5K race that was widely accosted as racially offensive to Native Americans.
Until Thursday, the “James Ray 5K Indian Attack” race, slated to take place in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, was to include a group of Native American reenactors in redface and dressed in faux Native American garb. The ‘Indians’ were to chase runners into the safety of an imitation fort at the end of the race, according to reports. The race, which is named for celebrated Indian fighter General James Ray who relocated as a teenager to Kentucky from North Carolina, remains scheduled for August 15.
“All concerns expressed on the James Ray 5K have been heard and the race has been altered accordingly,” county officials wrote on its Facebook page. “As stated, we have altered the race to address the concerns brought to our attention. That means there are no Native Americans chasing in the race.”
On Thursday, social media was abuzz with responses to the race many considered racist.
Blogger Dr. Adrienne Keene wrote on her blog, Native Appropriations, that the ‘Indian Attack’ was a “celebration … of the reigning power of white supremecy.”
“I just think about the table of white folks planning for the James Ray 5K. Who see no problem with naming a 5k after an Indian killer, see no problem with encouraging folks to don redface and ‘attack’ runners, and see this all as a ‘celebration’ of the good ol’ days. But in many ways for them, I guess it is a true celebration–of the reigning power of white supremacy,” Keene wrote.
Following news that the scheduled ‘Indian Attack’ was pulled from the race, social media began demanding an apology from the county officials and race organizers.
County officials and race organizers did not respond to ICTMN‘s request for comment.