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, […]

The Fight for Clean Water: Mni Wiconi and Native Communities

Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) - Dedicted to ensuring that no Native Household lacks access to clean, running water

Ensuring Access to Clean Water: Running Strong’s Commitment to Native Communities Running Strong has been tirelessly working for over 30 years to provide clean water to hundreds of families. Our mission for this year is to ensure that every home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is connected to the main water line, leaving no […]

Native American Gardens: A Source of Nutritious Food for All

We are working together to ensure that through our programs, access to food is more accessible.

Historical Native American Food Insecurity When Native Americans were forced onto reservations, their traditional food systems and traditions were disrupted. They had to forge a new existence on unfamiliar land, separated from the geography and ecosystems that had been a part of their culture and lifelines for generations. The treaties and acts that followed resulted […]

Running Strong: Expanding Food Security for Native American Communities

For decades, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® has been providing essential support to Native American families. We’re ensuring access to nonperishable and frozen food items, a crucial aid to supplementing their food budgets. Our efforts span across different locations, with the distribution of food boxes and backing of food pantries on reservations, including Pine […]

Dreamstarters  2023 Help to Gain Food Sovereignty

Food Sovereignty is a pressing issue for Native communities across the country. Many reservations are considered a “food dessert” due to the lack of access to grocery stores, and the high cost to import foods from retailers. The lack of access to healthy and affordable foods has resulted in lower life expectancies and higher rates […]

Dream Like Billy 2023

To support a healthy tomorrow for Native American youth, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is once again hosting our “Dream Like Billy Virtual 5K & 10K Run/Walk” beginning on June 30– Olympic gold medalist and Running Strong co-founder Billy Mills’ 85th birthday. It was nearly 59 years ago when Billy made his dreams come […]

Oyate Teca Project Offers Arts Classes to Preserve Lakota Culture

Since the start of 2023, at least since the notoriously brutal and frigid weather on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the Great Plains of South Dakota finally relented, the Oyate Teca Project’s Oyate Ta Kola Ku (Friend of All Nations) Community Center, constructed by Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, has been offering a […]

Addressing Period Poverty in Native American Communities

The importance of addressing period poverty and steps we can take to help.

Period poverty is a widespread issue that affects roughly 500 million women worldwide. In the US alone, about 16.9 million women live in poverty, and two-thirds could not afford menstrual products within the past year. Further, half of these women had to make the difficult decision between purchasing menstrual products or food. The need for […]

Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day

Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day

Today, May 5, is Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day, as throughout Indian Country and elsewhere Native communities and organizations – including Running Strong for American Indian Youth® — are gathering and working to draw attention to the MMIP crisis and honor those who have been impacted the most, primarily women. “On Missing […]

2023 Dreamstarter® Creatives

In 2021 Running Strong for American Indian Youth® launched Dreamstarter® Creative to support Native artists. Artists are cultural protectors, tradition keepers, and valuable contributors to the contemporary American art world as they connect Native traditions with an ever-changing and challenging world. Running Strong is proud to support Native creators who describe and celebrate Indigenous cultures […]

Tools for Growth at Pine Ridge

They are called “Tools for Growth” because that’s exactly what they are: shovels, rakes, hoes, pruners, cultivators and more, all with the purpose of enabling dozens of Oglala Lakota families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation grow fresh vegetables and fruits right in their very own backyards. But it’s also much more than that, as […]

2023 DreamStarters Are Taking On Native American Environmental Justice Issues

Working together to correct environmental justice issues.

The DreamStarter® Academy Grant Program is Running Strong’s initiative to cultivate and support the next generation of Native American leaders. Every year 10 American Indian youth are awarded a combination of financial support, hands-on mentorship, networking, and communications training. Since the inception of the program, over $900,000 has been awarded. These 10 amazing individuals are […]

CERT Training on Pine Ridge

The Oyate Teca Project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation held a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course on April 14, 15 and 16, at its Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center to prepare Pine Ridge residents to help themselves and others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Topics covered included disaster preparedness, […]

A Year for Environmental Justice

On April 21, President Biden signed an executive order to revitalize our nation’s commitment to environmental justice for all. “President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community – now and into the future,” stated The White House. […]

2023 Dreamstarter Cruz Collin – Sustainability, Solar Technology, and Traditional Knowledge

2023 Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Cruz Collin, 19, (Oglala Sioux) of Florence, Alabama, has a dream “to help Indigenous Peoples lead the world toward a sustainable future through the implementation of our sciences and traditional knowledge.” It’s called “Sustainably Powering Rural Native Communities” and Cruz will be using his $20,000 Dreamstarter grant […]

2023 Dreamstarter Noah Proctor – Food Sovereignty One community at a time

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® 2023 Dreamstarter Noah Proctor, 22, (Piscataway Conoy), of Clinton, Maryland, has a dream to establish a community garden to address “hunger in the tribal community while educating youth about agriculture, ecology, and nutrition, with an emphasis on Native knowledge and modern green agriculture.” With his mentor organization, “Through Piscataway […]

2023 Dreamstarter Loren Waters – Raising Awareness of the Tar Creek Superfund Site cleanup

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® 2023 Dreamstarter Loren Waters, 27, (Cherokee Nation/Kiowa Tribe) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, dream is ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ Project (Meet Me At The Creek Project) which aims to bring awareness to the Tar Creek Superfund Site cleanup. “The Dreamstarter grant will support a two-part project that will bring together Indigenous environmental activists […]

Billy Mills Named a 2022 Team USA Community Champion in partnership with Comcast

On April 10, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation (USOPF) announced four athletes as the 2022 award recipients for Team USA Community Champions – which includes Running Strong for American Indian Youth® co-founder and Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills. Billy and the three others (Mary Cain, Atalanta NYC; Kelsey Dickinson, Women Ski Coaches Association; […]

For the First Time in 400 Years, the Piscataway Conoy Tribe Owns Land in Maryland

All of us at Running Strong for American Indian Youth® offer our sincere congratulations to our 2022 Dreamstarter Kyle Swann, his father and Dreamstarter mentor Piscataway Conoy Chief Jesse J. Swann, Jr., founder of Kyle’s mentor organization, Through Piscataway Eyes (TPE) and all the tribe’s 3,500 enrolled members on the recent purchase of a piece […]

Lasting Change for Native American Youth

Our many garden project aid to help native american youth enjoy proper nutrition.

Since its inception in 1986, Running Strong has made it its mission to empower and create a positive impact on our Native American youth. Through our programs and initiatives, we have created an environment that values tribal pride and indigenous knowledge – an environment where these young people can realize their full potential as highly […]