The countdown is on! Team One Spirit runs for the rez on Sunday, May 18 in the Colfax (Denver) marathon, and they still really need your help. The costs to send fifteen runners (yes, fifteen! Isn’t that exciting?) to the event include transportation, hotel, food, registration, and gear. Please help us meet our $5,000 goal! Team One Spirit leads the way in our new running program to help raise funds for Lakota youth and increase awareness of the challenges of the Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation. The program is also motivating people of all ages on the reservation to take good care of their bodies through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The Colfax marathon will be an especially exciting event, as it will be run as a relay of three teams of five runners each. You already know some of the runners of the core Team One Spirit and a few others from our recent updates. Now we want to introduce to you the remainder of the marathon team, so you can cheer them on!
Meet Nupa White Plume
First, let’s re-introduce you to Nupa White Plume, who is one of the original Lakota Five who ran in the New York City marathon last November. Nupa is a 29-year-old father of two who lives in Wounded Knee. He has competed in the Iron Warrior events and is also an experienced horseman. He recently auditioned for and won one of two spots in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, which is a modern version of the same event that chief Sitting Bull was part of over one hundred years ago. However, Nupa chose not to go on tour so he could stay home with his family instead. Nupa runs about 20 miles a day, 4 or 5 days a week. All that training paid off in last year’s New York City marathon, which Nupa completed in an amazing time of 3:21:17.
Meet Zuya White Plume
If you can join Team One Spirit in Denver on race day, don’t think you are seeing double. We are very lucky to have Nupa’s twin brother, Zuya, running in the relay as well. Zuya ran track in high school and was state champion three of his four years there. Since high school, he has been working with his dad on the reservation. They do 17 horseback rides for children during the year. These are healing rides that teach the children about horses and about the reservation. Zuya also trains horses. He and his wife, Maria Helper, have 4 daughters.
And here’s the rest of the team, Wesley, Warren, Ashley, and Cory, in their own words.
Meet Ashley Yellow Cloud-Robinson
My name is Ashley Yellow Cloud-Robinson. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I have been serving in the military for 8 years and currently stationed in Colorado. I reached out to Team One Spirit in hopes to help and to be an inspiration for the younger generation. I didn't start competing in races until a few years ago. Since then I have been a part of the Fort Carson Army 10 Miler Team which we competed in Washington, DC and won second place. I continue to run and compete in races. My daughters, Wetu and Emely, are my biggest inspiration, and they have started running as well. To be a part of this team and this organization is a great honor, and I am truly blessed that I get to inspire others!
Meet Warren Blue Bird
I am Warren Blue Bird, 43 years old, 140 lbs. I am drug and alcohol free. I am the youngest of 8 kids. My mother is alive and well, and my father died in 1992. Presently, I am a college student full time here at Oglala Lakota College in the carpentry field. I made all As last semester and all As in the five classes I am currently in. I had perfect attendance all last semester and perfect attendance this Spring 2014 semester. My college education means a lot to me coming out of a dire straight situation. I have been a long distance runner ever since high school under the direction of Coach Dale Pine, who has coached many runners to success.
I run to enlighten the youth here on our reservation, where we have a high rate of depressing situations with drugs, alcohol, suicides, poverty, unemployment, economic struggles, etc. Every morning, I get up and run the hour I am able to around the college in hopes that the youth and whoever else can grasp that as a positive outlet instead of turning to the depressing situations that at times plague our people. My struggles have been hard, but at times when running I think to myself that my struggles are not that hard when our youth turn to suicide or other forms of escape not knowing that the decision will cost them dearly. It's a battle when our youth don't know any better than turning to situations they think will get them out of their current predicament, which only adds fuel to the fire. I can only try so much, not more than I can handle, as it’s not healthy in a spiritual aspect to overburden one with a full plate. I just try to help the Coach or whoever but keep guard, as some here will exploit it and use your kindness and want stuff done all time, which leads to the question “how come they couldn't do it on their own all this time?”
My work ethic is stronger than most, as I can accomplish more than most and what sets me apart is when I say I will be there, there are no questions or doubts on me not showing up. Whenever there is a volunteer project going on or help needed, I assist if am not busy on a project already. I get to class in the form of walking or catching rides, and it shows pure determination to be successful in wanting my education degree in General Construction. I am new to a lot of things, but one has to always have hope that things will get better as time goes by through prayer and what support trickles down from those who care. I go to the sweat lodge ceremonies in order to walk and talk the right side of life and it's standing through good talks with all those who encounter in life, no matter their skin color. To those who may read this, my hope is you will go home and give your loved ones hugs and love, telling them you really do love them in life each day. Mitakuye Oyasin (we are all related).
Meet Wesley Cottier, Sr.
Hello, my name is Wesley Cottier Sr. I am from the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. I have four children, three boys and one girl, who all live in Iowa. I got into running when I was younger and enjoyed it; then in high school, I met Dale Pine, who later was my high school coach. Through high school, we won three state championships in cross country. After high school, I went on to college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I did not finish school there. I did end back up on the reservation, where I became a police officer for four years. Then in 2004, I moved to Iowa and later moved my wife and kids. I continued my running, and I started running in half marathons and smaller races. My kids now love to run, my oldest is gonna graduate on the 18th of May, my daughter is going to be a sophomore next school year, and my two youngest are still in grade school. It is an honor getting to run with this group, and it will be an honor to meet you all as well. I am now working for the Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing as maintenance, fixing houses for the past year and a half.
Meet Cory Black Feather
My name is Cory Black Feather, and I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I attended Pine Ridge High School and participated in cross country, wrestling, and track. Upon graduating, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. My job was in the Infantry; I made a few deployments to various countries and conducted several peace-keeping, humanitarian, anti-terrorism, and war-time missions. After the completion of my active duty contract and an Honorable Discharge, I felt a strong sense of commitment to return back to my birth place to make a difference. So I enrolled in college and began taking courses to become a Cultural teacher. I presently work at my old school as an education technician. Throughout my years, I realized that running is a universal activity that can help people. It helps with the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life and that by having all four virtues in balance, one can certainly cope better with life’s challenges and with their personal surroundings. In addition, through running, our people show the world that even after hundreds of years of oppression, my people will remain. I learned about One Spirit from my former coach/co-worker/fellow coach, Dale Pine. I am married to Joni Black Feather (Morrisette); we have four children: Cory Jr., age 8; Caleb, age 4; Calyse, age 2; and our newest addition, Coryn, age 2 months.
Meet CaSarah Pine
CaSarah will be running with the women's team!
Also running for Team One Spirit are James Pine and Kevin Shot With Arrow.
We are blessed and honored to have these amazing individuals represent One Spirit and the Lakota. These dedicated runners have worked very hard to train for the Denver marathon relay event. They will be putting their hearts, souls, and bodies into advocating for the Lakota, and they inspire youth and everyone on Pine Ridge Reservation by showing that making positive change in your life starts with believing in yourself. Now let’s do our part and help make this event possible by donating HERE.
When you support Team One Spirit, you are supporting hope and a vision for a brighter Lakota future. Wopila tanka (many thanks), and GO TEAM ONE SPIRIT!