Running on Native Lands Initiative

The Running on Native Lands Initiative is a way for runners, races, and community leaders to acknowledge and advocate for first peoples and their lands.

By on February 25, 2021 | Comments

[Editor’s Note: It’s iRunFar’s “Week of Awesome.” Each day this week, we’re bringing you something awesome from the wide worlds of trail running and ultrarunning. Someone to follow, something to learn, or a story to be inspired by, our hope is to add a spark to your day.]

“You are on Native lands.” The phrase on the Rising Hearts nonprofit’s website immediately captures one’s attention–and it’s meant to. The Running on Native Lands Initiative is an effort created by Rising Hearts and its founder, runner and activist Jordan Marie Daniel. Daniel, a citizen of the Kul Wicasa Oyate, has found her lifework in using running to connect outdoor recreationists with the first peoples of the lands upon which they recreate.

To quote the program, the goal of the Running on Native Lands Initiative, is, “to bring visibility of land acknowledgements and more at trail AND road race events by going the extra mile in giving back to the communities. With a partnership, we want to help the many rethink how we see the trails, our connection to the lands that need our respect and protection, AND to recognize the lands we are privileged to run on, AS stolen. First things first, there needs to be understanding that those who are not Indigenous to these lands are guests on these stolen lands. There is every opportunity for us, as people, to gain a new perspective, to show up, and to learn, support, and give visibility to the first peoples.”

The Initiative has a toolkit designed for race directors and other running-community leaders so that they may partner with Rising Hearts to do this work. Download the Running on Native Lands Initiative toolkit to get started with the program. Visit Daniel’s website to learn more about her. You can also follow her on Instagram. Stay tuned to iRunFar’s “WeRunFar” column to learn more about Daniel and her work soon. Jordan Marie Daniel, thank you for the awesome effort and emotion you put into teaching us about our landscapes’ cultural story.

iRunFar operates on Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands.

Running on Native Lands Initiative

The Running on Native Lands Initiative. Image:

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.