March 23, 2015

Marathon running on a wing and a prayer

One of my occasional articles for the Native media:

Native Presence at L.A. Marathon Provides Hydration and Spiritual Uplift

By Rob SchmidtAt Mile 17 of this year’s Los Angeles Marathon, held March 15, runners saw and heard something a little different: a powwow dancer and a drum group. It was a subtle reminder that they were on Gabrielino Tongva land—and that the land’s first inhabitants are still here.

For the second year in a row, the American Indian Community Council (AICC) was an official race sponsor. AICC is a central hub and resource for LA’s American Indian/Alaska Native community. It operates groups for women, elders, and the Indian Child Welfare Act, among other things.

AICC’s 2015 goal was to raise funds for United Native Youth of LA (UNYLA), which represents LA’s Native youth councils. Specifically, AICC plans to send Native youngsters on a Youth Leadership Journey to nearby reservations to learn about their roots. Some urban Indians have never visited a reservation.

The LA Marathon encourages participants to raise funds for causes. This spurred 27 Indians to run this year—up from only three a few years ago. They included long-time marathoners Shawn Imitates-Dog and Willie Sandoval as well as some first-timers. Nineteen completed the whole 26.2 miles while the others ran half-marathons in relays.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indians Raise Awareness at LA Marathon.

Below:  "Young helpers pass out water to runners in the L.A. Marathon at the American Indian Community Council's water station."

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