The Christian Science Monitor

For young Native Americans, running is a lesson in their own history

As Wings of America’s program coordinator, Alicia Littlebear helps coordinate Flight Club – the group’s after school running group for young Native Americans. Wings will preserve Native Americans’ connection to running, says Littlebear, and ensure that they carry the tradition forward themselves. Source: Story Hinckley/The Christian Science Monitor

A plume of dust trails his worn sneakers as he strides over the red sand.

Most runners would find this surface trying: a sinking, winding path, made narrow by low desert brush. But not Dustin Martin. He glides over the sand – seemingly without sinking at all – as if he and the Earth made a deal long ago.

Mr. Martin, a Navajo from Gallup, N.M., is executive director of Wings of America, a nonprofit based in Santa Fe, N.M. It encourages Native American youth to embrace running, both as a cultural tradition and as a personal hobby, while simultaneously helping to dispel negative stereotypes associated with their peoples.

“Everyone else in Indian country, unfortunately, for the last 30 years, has had to build a program

The example of Jim Thorpe  Sending a message in a run

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