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Redface Race: 'Indian Attack' Slated for 5K Run/Walk in Kentucky Draws Ire

A 5K race in Kentucky has drawn criticism for its racial insensitivity toward Native Americans.

In celebration of its colonial history, a city in Kentucky will host a 5K run where Native American reenactors painted in redface will chase runners into an imitation fort, according to reports.

The “James Ray 5K Indian Attack” is scheduled for August 15 as one part of the annual Pioneer Days celebration weekend in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The race is named after General James Ray who relocated to Kentucky from North Carolina in 1775. Ray was reportedly an Indian fighter and spy.

An unidentified man in redface grimaces for the camera while standing next to runners of the 5K during Pioneer Days in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

“You can either run or walk, but don’t be surprised if you encounter some obstacles and come under attack when Indians chase you to the finish!” reads the race registration form. “Show your pioneer spirit by coming in costume.”

The fort at the end of the race is meant to symbolize safety from Indians on the attack, according to reports.

"In the end, it's a celebration of the Indian removal of the area," Assistant Professor of Native American Studies Theo Van Alst of the University of Montana told ICTMN.

But the supporters of the “Indian Attack” disagree. They argue the race is about the city's heritage and not about offending Native Americans.

Race Director Terry Wasson did not respond to ICTMN’s request for comment.

Dr. Adrienne Keene, who is Cherokee and the writer of the blog Native Appropriations, tweeted the following photo:

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