Monday, December 1, 2014

Shoe Donations And Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run

Shoe Donations and Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run

I've been helping out Mike Sandrock and One World Running for a number of years now, as I really believe in the organization and what it does. One hundred percent volunteer run, OWR collects shoes from all over, hand washes them, sorts them, and then hand delivers them to runners in need around the world. This past weekend I had the honor to help with the shoe donations for tribal runners at the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre as part of the Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run.

There is always a ton of volunteer work involved in something like this, and I was happy to be part of it. On Saturday, Tara and I loaded up my VW Rabbit with about 150 pairs of shoes, along with a couple hundred shirts and made the drive out east to Eads, Colorado. We made good time, and pulled into the area in the middle afternoon - just enough time to unload all of the shoes and get them organized by size. A little later Mike showed up with another car of volunteers and another 150 pairs of shoes, as well as more shirts. There were about 200 tribal runners participating, and getting all of their shoes organized and the right sizes to the runners was a bit of a task. Kaden Walksnice was coordinating the run, and he told us what to do. After getting the shoes organized, we participated in the ceremonial dinner, where many prayers and stories were shared.

The next morning, at sunrise, we drove out to the site, which is run by the NPS. They allowed us to drive in to a certain area, where all of the runners and participants parked and prepared for the morning ceremonies and events. Sandrock, myself, and Peter H. went and did a nice tempo run around the site and out along the bluffs overlooking Big Sandy Creek. We got back just in time as the ceremonies were starting - ceremonial painting, blessings, singing, prayers, and more. It was such an honor to be able to attend and be there during such an important event. Finally, the healing run got under way - and it was a healing run. The elders lead everyone, followed by the runners who would run the course all the way back to Denver for the closing ceremonies on Wednesday.

I would like to thank the Cheyenne and Arapaho people for allowing Tara and I to attend and be part of this amazing spiritual healing run. Here are some photos of the event that I took.

 That evenings sunset - powerful times.
How many pairs of shoes can you fit in a VW Rabbit? About 150 from my experience.
Sorting out the shoes...

 Kaden Walksnice - thank you for allowing us to be a part!

 Sunrise on the way out to the site...

 Tara and Mike at the painting and blessing.
 Some of the runners...
Powerful drumming and singing
Elders leading the start...
The elders lead us out of the site, where the lead and eagle staff were handed off to the runners for the rest of the healing run.

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