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 […]

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 […]

One Year Later: Celebrating the Pine Ridge Native American Community Center

Children and adults are sewing at the Pine Ridge native american community center

Once just a vision, the Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center has evolved into a thriving hub of imagination, culture, and togetherness within its first year of existence. This 21,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, nestled in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is a cornerstone of the community, providing a wealth of resources and opportunities […]

Dreamstarter Connects Native Food and Community

Food is an integral part of community and gatherings. Food heals us, nourishes our bodies and souls, gives us a reason to gather, and is a vessel to pass down tradition and knowledge. This November, for Native American Heritage Month, Running Strong will focus on traditional native foods, and the connection they offer to culture, […]

Native Foods Strengthens Families and Unites Communities

November is Native American Heritage Month, a month to celebrate, honor, reflect, and learn about the traditions, culture, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. From gathering to hunting, farming to fishing, native food traditions have been at the core of tribal communities and culture for hundreds of generations.    But when […]

Preserving Lakota Heritage: Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook and the Seven Sacred Ceremonies

Loretta Afraid

“Future generations of Oglalas should know everything their ancestors believed and practiced; and so that all the world will know of the Oglala Gods!”             George Sword – Mi Wakan 1896 Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook is an activist, cultural, and language bearer, an involved Oglala Elder, and a loving grandmother. Loretta has served on […]

Dreamstarters Work for Clean Water and Tribal Water Rights

Running Strong is dedicated to uplifting the next generation of Native leaders and communities holistically- meaning we are committed to supporting native individuals and families by meeting their  critical needs, protecting their communities, and preserving cultures and native homelands. Our Dreamstarter program focuses on uplifting the next generation of native leaders and their communities by […]

Culture Helps to Heal Communities

Culture Helps to Heal Communities For decades, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® has been supporting programs that promote culture and tradition in Native American communities throughout Indian Country. Coming of Age and Native Storytelling For example, for 25 years, Running Strong has been providing funding support to the Brave Heart Society in Lake Andes, […]

A Month to Celebrate and Share Lakota Culture

Each day in October, we will be sharing a Lakota Word of the Day, with words that celebrate indigenous art, the importance of land, the spirit of winter and the community of food. Like most Native American tribes, the Lakota didn’t write down their language.  Songs and stories, over generations, are critical the preservation of […]

Dreamstarter Creatives Using Art to Make History

            Art, history, and culture are so intertwined that one cannot fully appreciate one realm without knowledge of the others. Art is a vessel to record and tell history, preserve, share, and even critique culture. Because of this, artists are cultural protectors, tradition keepers, storytellers, and activists. Native artists are valuable contributors to the contemporary […]

Waníyetu Strong – so that 6,000 children can be warm this winter.

Waníyetu Strong: Giving the Gift of Warmth to Native Children Waníyetu (Winter) Strong isn’t just a seasonal initiative; it’s a commitment. Our mission? Ensuring 6,000 Native children and youth on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and others throughout Indian Country, receive brand new, warm coats this winter. The Situation in Pine Ridge […]

These Dreamstarters are Environmental Justice Advocates!

Tillie Stewart, Anpa'o Locke, and Autumn Harry are three Native American environmental justice activists who are making a difference in their communities.

            Activism is a word that has grown in popular use since the social justice movements of the 1960’s and can happen in various forms, that range in scale and impact. From lobbying on capitol hill and wide-reaching social media movements to grass-roots and community-based efforts, all the way down […]

Dreamstarter Incubator Grant supports small native-owned businesses

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 youth for long-term. 2019 Dreamstarter Josh Smith (Osage Nation) was the recipient of the first incubator grant and used his grant to develop a Microenterprise Development program […]

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

After all these years of working to bring clean, fresh, safe running water to every family on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is on the verge of doing just that. “We can now see the end of the trail!,” says Running Strong co-founder and Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, […]

DREAMSTRTER 2024: Storytelling

Native Youth, ages 15-30, can apply to receive $20,000.00 to pursue their dream of telling Native stories, preserving traditional storytelling, and increasing Native representation in various forms of media! Indigenous peoples have strong storytelling traditions. Stories are used to communicate, entertain, share generational knowledge, and explain the world around us. For centuries, storytelling was the […]

Dreamstarter Working for Clean Energy

Indigenous peoples are the original earth protectors and activists for Environmental Justice causes. Native communities are also the most vulnerable populations facing the negative impacts of climate change due to displacement from their traditional homelands and systematic cultural erasure. The resulting conditions are a lack of infrastructure on reservations, poor economic conditions/opportunities, and a loss […]

Meet the Running Strong for American Indian Youth® 2023-2024 Dreamstarter™ Teachers

2023-2024 Dreamstarter Teachers

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is proud to welcome the newest cohort of Dreamstarter® Teachers who are making a difference in the lives of their Native American students and classrooms. Shannon Britton of Covelo, California is the principal at Round Valley Elementary/Middle School where she has worked for 23 years. Shannon is using her […]

Smart Sacks feeds over 600 students and their families each weekend

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 not having proper, nutritious meals at home over the weekends. The many effects of hunger are well documented: A hungry child […]

Helping 6000 students to Study Strong

Breaking Barriers: The Struggle for School Supplies in Indian CountryEvery year, countless Native American families across Indian Country confront the harsh reality that affording basic school supplies for their children is an unattainable “luxury.” In response, we launch our annual “Study Strong” initiative, providing thousands of essential school supplies to elementary and middle school students, […]

Dreamstarters working for Land Sovereignty

The United States’ policies of land management have always been more about resource control, and power rather than how to protect the land and the people that reside on it. Such policies emboldened the government to displace and remove indigenous peoples from their territories, wipe out buffalo and other native species, and toxify the lands […]

Health at the Core of Many Running Strong Programs

Running Strong for American Indian Youth: Health and Wellness Programs Affecting change isn’t just about addressing immediate needs; it’s about providing the tools and resources to ensure self-sufficiency, health, and wellbeing in the long term. For Native American families, this effort takes on many forms through the dedicated work of organizations like Running Strong for […]

2023 Dreamstarters Working for Clean, Safe Water

Indian Country has been fighting for water rights since colonists first came to America. While the struggles and needs of each Tribe and Native community vary, there is a common theme: lack of accessibility to clean, safe water. The ability to access clean and safe water is a two-part issue. First, the lack of water […]

Dreamstarter® Incubator Microenterprise Development program expands to Pine Ridge

The First Year of the Dreamstarter® Incubator Microenterprise Development Program has been Amazing! The Dreamstarter Incubator Microenterprise Development program has completed its first year, and it has been nothing short of amazing. This program, designed to support the dreams of Native youth for the long-term, has been successful in providing the necessary mentorship, financial assistance, […]