2018 Dreamstarter Michael Charles
While Running Strong for American Indian Youth® 2018 Dreamstarter Michael Charles is following his dream to encourage American Indian students to pursue higher education, and helping them to find ways to get there, he is also speaking out about the importance of protecting the environment.
In November, he published an article “A Blessing for a Sick World” in which he described attending the United Nations Climate Talks and his frustration with the lack of Native Americans voices being heard.
“I saw something completely missing from the negotiations: indigenous voices,” Michael wrote. “As a citizen of the Navajo Nation, I sat in the negotiation room and saw no representation of my people.”
In fact, he continues, “There has never been a seat within the negotiations for an indigenous nation” even though the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples emphasizes that the UN has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
And despite the challenges facing him, Michael writes “I will continue advocating for my people with the privilege that I have being at the negotiations.”
2017 Dreamstarter Caitlin Bordeaux
2017 Dreamstarter Caitlin Bordeaux came to Running Strong for American Indian with a dream to inspire Native youth and their families to learn about computer science.
Today, Caitlin’s dream is a reality for the students at the St. Francis Indian School on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
“My favorite part was being able to see my dream become a reality after thinking of the idea of exposing our students to computer sciences for a couple of years,” she told us. “I also loved getting to know a couple of other Native youth from across the country [her fellow Dreamstarters] and get to see them start their projects.”
To Running Strong national spokesperson Billy Mills, whose 1964 Olympic gold medal win was the inspiration for the Dreamstarter program, Caitlin has this to say:
“I would like to tell Billy Mills that his seeds of inspiration and hope will continue to spread through the lives of many Native youth through believing in each of the Dreamstarters that he let live out their dreams.”
And today her Dreamstarter program continues to live on – “I am excited to start another year of my Dreamstarter project which is going to be able to help even more students with opportunities in tech than in the first year!”
2016 Dreamstarter Jenna Smith
2016 Dreamstarter Jenna Smith realized her dream – Dance Maker – to create a scholarship program so every child on her reservation may have the opportunity to use dance to enhance their knowledge of the history of the Osage Nation.
Jenna’s dream continues today thanks to the supporters of Running Strong who have made it possible for her to be awarded a second grant which helps enable her to teach nearly 80 students.
Local Pawhuska schools have organized field trips so that 900 students were able to watch “The Nutcracker” ballet and experience performing arts, as well as perform in their own production.
“The children exemplified Smith’s vision of expanding the performing arts on the prairie,” stated an article in the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.