Living in NM and US it is almost sad about how little we know about the Native American culture. Particularly for me, the Navajo Nation which is the largest tribe in the US spreading over New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
Unfortunately, Native American culture is frequently and continuously stereotyped. It seems that their great history and traditions are sometime shadowed by negative headlines and poverty.
However, I was fortunate to have attended a really diverse high school here in Albuquerque and gained a different view on Native American culture. On my cross country team there was few girls from the Navajo Nation. This is where I first learned about their culture and how running is a major element in their spirituality. I learned about how running was a major part of a Navajo girl’s rite of passage and how it was included in a ceremony called a Kinaalda. The farther she can run during this ceremony the more successful she will be in life. I remember how fascinated I was by all of this, and inspired I was at their spiritual and cultural connection to running.
These distant memories have been refreshed in my head due to a friend on facebook posting about a documentary being released called RUN TO THE EAST. It is a brilliant documentary about life on the reservation and how three high school seniors are using the sport of running to give them hope.
Run to the East Trailer from Run to the East on Vimeo.
For more info check out:
Here is an article in the Navajo Times about Run To The East
Program Wings of America