Team One Spirit is a group of native athletes who are also parents, coaches, teachers and active members within their tribal communities.
Their mission is to inspire native youth to go after their dreams and have hope for the future. Through competing in marathons throughout the country, Team One Spirit hopes to positively represent the Lakota Nation. They want to show native youth that it is possible to live a life free of drugs, alcohol and violence. They want to show the world that there is more to the Lakota people than just statistics.
Established in 2012, Team One Spirit was the first all-Lakota team to participate in the New York City Marathon. Although Superstorm Sandy caused the race to be cancelled, the team was there to assist the victims on Staten Island. The five runners returned to New York City in 2013 and completed the marathon. In 2014, Team One Spirit was honored by the New York State Assembly for their role in the 2012 recovery efforts.
The goal of Team One Spirit is to bring awareness to the need for more youth programs throughout the reservation. They are working to raise funds in order to create and maintain running programs and youth centers in each district.
In addition to the New York City Marathon, the team, which now has more than 20 members, has run in the Denver, Crazy Horse, and Badlands Marathon as well as many other running events. This summer they are conducting five running camps on the reservation and will be taking some of those participants to running events. They plan to conduct running programs for elementary and middle school kids during the school year.