How to Preserve and Sustain Native American Culture and Traditions

native american culture and traditions

October is Native American Heritage Month and the perfect opportunity to explore the vibrant world of Native American culture and traditions. Native American culture is an intricate tapestry woven from the threads of history, spirituality, and connection to the land. Threatened by systematic erasure, it’s a culture that not only deserves respect and appreciation but […]

Water Scarcity Solutions Flourish on Pine Ridge Reservation

A family is standing next to their water source showcasing one of the water scarcity solutions Running Strong is providing.

In the heart of the expansive Pine Ridge Reservation, a community once burdened by the heavy weight of water scarcity is now experiencing a remarkable transformation, brimming with hope and promise. While challenges persist, there’s a newfound sense of optimism, all thanks to the water scarcity solutions and tireless efforts of organizations like Running Strong […]

Dreamstarter’s Mission to Elevate Native American Education

A group of children are around a table of crafts showcasing native american education.

In honor of teacher appreciation week we want to show our love and appreciation for those who inspire and spark change. Running Strong for American Indian Youth is honored to spotlight a group of individuals who are not just shaping minds but also changing lives – our teachers. Through our Dreamstarter™ Teacher Grants, we aim […]

2023 Dreamstarter Update Answering: Why is Environmental Justice Important?

Three women standing outside, one holding a video camera showcasing why is environmental justice important.

The conversation around environmental justice is more critical than ever and understanding why environmental justice is important becomes a cornerstone for initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable future. A huge supporter of this movement is Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, a shining example of hope and empowerment for indigenous communities. Through its innovative Dreamstarter […]

WičhičhaǧAStrong – Empowering and Helping Native Young Women

WičhičhaǧAStrong – Empowering and Helping Native Young Women

Running Strong is working to address what is known as “period poverty,” a widespread issue that affects roughly 500 million worldwide.  In the U.S. alone, nearly 17 million women live in poverty – and last year, about 5.6 million could not afford menstrual products, including many Native American women. Running Strong, dedicated to empowering Native […]

Native First Foods…a Sampling of Recipes

From foods found in old-growth forests to the far-reaching lands of the plains and from humid coastal lands to that found in drier desserts, foods grown by Native American tribes across these lands have long fed and created community.   Food connects us all through past, present, and future across culture and borders. Despite the […]

Introducing the 2024 Dreamstarter Storytellers

As a follower of Running Strong you likely know the story of our Dreamstarter program; inspired by Billy’s Dream, we created the Dreamstarter program to uplift the next generation of American Indian youth, and help make their dreams come true through a combination of financial support, hands-on mentorship, networking, and communications training. Since 2015,  Running […]

Running Strong Presents SACRED Arts Festival in Sacramento this April

SACRED Arts Festival, presented by Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, is a two-day event in the heart of Sacramento that will celebrate Native art, culture, and community. Immerse yourself in live mural painting. Join us for indigenous film screenings and live musical performances. Explore vendor booths showcasing crafts, jewelry, and art. Discover local Sacramento food […]

1 Medicine Root Garden Program: 3 Levels of Gardening Courses, 9 Months of Classrooms and hands-on instruction, over 50 Gardening students, and over 50,000 pounds of produce grown on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

In 2023, the Medicine Root Garden program, operated by our partner on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Oyate Teca Project, trained or assisted 62 individuals ages 5 to 57 in its mission to “help teach our people how to feed themselves by teaching them how to grow their food,” reported director Rose Fraser. Impact […]

52 families on Pine Ridge will finally have access to running water

(Update on World Water Day, March 22, 2024) Our Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) water line connection program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation will soon ramp up once the frozen ground on the Great Plains of South Dakota thaws. This will allow our Oglala Lakota contractor to resume digging six-foot-deep trenches and running water […]

Celebrating and preserving native traditions, language, and culture

Celebrating and preserving native traditions, language, and culture are at the core of many Running Strong programs.  Creating Healthy Futures for Youth with Brave Heart Society December 2023 marked the 29th anniversary of the partnership between Running Strong for American Indian Youth® and the Brave Heart Society in Lake Andes, South Dakota, on the Yankton […]

Slim Buttes Agricultural Development Program Helps Green Pine Ridge with Community and Family Gardens and First Foods workshops.

In 2023, the Slim Buttes Agricultural Development (SBAG) program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (founded in 1985) distributed seedlings, tilled gardens, refurbished raised beds, built and distributed planter boxes, conducted workshops about food preservation and how to use food as “medicine” to prevent diabetes, and promoted healthy lifestyles and overall well-being through gardening and […]

Dreamstarter Incubator Expanding and Training Micro-Enterprise Grant recipients on Pine Ridge

In August 2022, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® announced a new, exciting expansion of our Dreamstarter® program –Dreamstarter Incubator – designed to continue supporting the dreams of Native communities for the long term after their original Dreamstarter projects have concluded. Our first Dreamstarter Incubator is Dreamstarter entrepreneur Josh Smith from the class of 2019. […]

Closing the Digital Divide for Elders…a bridge to information and community

On February 11, 2021, the Office of the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in remote southwestern South Dakota issued comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration regarding the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP), stating it “provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the digital divide in Indian Country. “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare […]

Dreamstarter Creatives show how art is intertwined with much of native culture and tradition

Art is intertwined with much of native culture and tradition.  That is why Running Strong provides grants to native artists to create, innovate, and share their artistic expression with their communities. These 2023 Dreamstarter Creative grant recipients each have uniquely crafted artistry to share the interplay between art and the native community. Joe Harjo Joe […]

Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center – What a Year it’s been!

The Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Oyate Ta Kola Ku (Friend of All Nations) Community Center formally opened its doors to the residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on February 9, 2023, at an open house where the public was invited to “Come see what will be happening at the new Community Center […]

Young Women Dreamstarters Driving Positive Change and Advocating for a Healthier Earth.

In a time when youth voices have a growing influence, it’s important to spotlight the impactful activism of Native youth who are driving positive change in their communities. Three of our Dreamstarters – McKalee Steen, Anpa’o Locke, and Tillie Stewart— are remarkable young women, each dedicated to tackling pressing issues and advocating for a healthier […]

A Year of Combatting Pine Ridge Reservation Poverty: Stories of Hope From 2023

Two girls playing a game with a potato pushed against their foreheads smiling and not worrying about pine ridge reservation poverty.

Across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, organizations like Running Strong are a beacon of hope, battling generational poverty and increasing access to healthcare, education, and healthy food options. Native American communities across America face persistent challenges due to historical and systemic factors, making the support that Running Strong provides crucial for positive change. As we […]

Over 10,000 Smart Sacks Distributed.  10,000 more to go this semester!

It is halfway through the 2023-24 academic school year.  In the first semester alone, over 10,000 Smart Sacks have been distributed! Running Strong for American Indian Youth® initiated our Smart Sacks after hearing from Native educators that their students were returning to school on Monday mornings hungry and unable to focus on their classwork after […]

A Message for the New Year from Billy Mills

Billy Mills

“Stepping into the new year, I’m filled with pride and gratitude for all we have accomplished. In 1986, Gene Krizek and I created Running Strong from the ground up, starting with a single seed: the ability to dream. With resilience, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to our mission of uplifting Native Communities, Running Strong was […]

Dreamstarter Teachers 2022-2023 Impact Students’ lives, from Head Start Pow-Wow to college students attending the Annual Native American Leadership Conference

2022-2023 Dreamstarter Teachers 2022-2023 Dreamstarter Teachers recently wrapped up their year-long projects, just in time for Christmas break. Each of these teachers has made a lasting impact on the lives of their students by creating positive educational experiences that will inspire them for years to come. Here’s a look back at their year: Shana Aubid- […]

Dreamstarter works on Sustainably Powering Rural Native Communities

 In Pine Ridge, where over 60% of homes lack basic amenities like water, electricity, insulation, or sewage systems, the challenges of extreme temperatures can be overwhelming for families living on the Pine Ridge Reservation. To aid families through the winter months, when heating bills can exceed $400 a month, Running Strong developed our Heat Match […]

Dreamstarters working for Environmental Justice and Land Stewardship

Embracing Environmental Justice: The Path of Land Stewardship in America Environmental justice is more than just a concept; it’s a vital pathway that intertwines the recognition of land rights and sustainability. In America, a growing movement acknowledges that the land is a legacy, not just a commodity. This recognition is spearheading initiatives towards more responsible […]

The Running Strong Santa: A Beacon of Hope and Joy in Native American Communities

The Running Strong Santa is everywhere this year! This holiday season, we are working to ensure that “Santa” doesn’t pass hundreds of Native American children and families by this Christmas! On Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, “Santa” will drop off toys at both our Tipi Waste distribution center, for pick up by representatives from the 9 […]

Native American Donations Needed During Frigid Winter Months

Native American donations needed for winter months

During the winter months, tens of thousands of residents on Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, and other Indian reservations are preparing for harsh temperatures and snowstorms. It is not abnormal for frigid temperatures to reach single-digit temperatures, and often get as low as -5℉. Due to generational poverty and remote living conditions, items like coats, food, […]

Empowering Dreams: Introducing the Dreamstarter Incubator Program by Running Strong

In August 2022, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® announced a new, exciting expansion of our Dreamstarter program –Dreamstarter Incubator, designed to continue supporting the dreams of Native communities for the long term, after their original Dreamstarter projects have concluded. In this new program, Dreamstarters from previous years partner with Running Strong to create all […]

Recipes to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

This month, as we celebrate and honor Native American heritage, we will be sharing recipes that incorporate traditional Lakota foods. We offer these recipes as a reminder that food connects us all, through past, present, future, across culture, and borders. Despite the tools and preparation looking very different in a modern kitchen than they would […]

Developing Food Sovereignty

Medicine Root Garden partipants in hoophouse

Due to many complicating factors, including remoteness and geographic isolation, many Native American communities on reservations live without consistent access to high-quality grocery stores and fresh fruits and vegetables.  As a result, food scarcity, obesity, and diabetes have become epidemics in Indian Country. Activists and leaders want Indigenous communities to have more control over their […]