Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Dirk Whitebreast - Sac & Fox
WASHINGTON - Support is mounting for Sac & Fox's Dirk Whitebreast's 262-mile run to raise awareness of youth suicide prevention, health promotion, and emotional healing in Indian Country.
This Fall, Whitebreast, a 31 year old member of Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, plans to run 10 marathons in 30 days - a total of 262 miles - and he is donating the money he raises to the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, based in Washington DC.
On Sunday, September 18, the Center for Native American Youth will join Whitebreast in Appleton, Wisconsin, by participating in a marathon relay with youth from Ho-Chunk Nation and the Nation's President Jon Greendeer.
To support Dirk's efforts, the Ho-Chunk Youth Council and the Wittenberg Youth & Learning Center organized two five-person relay teams for the marathon.
Josie Raphaelito, Navajo, the Center's program coordinator will be running alongside Ho-Chunk Nation youth and community members to support Dirk and the Ho-Chunk Nation youth council.
In addition, the Center will speak at the Ho-Chunk Nation's Community Action Plan on Suicide Prevention dinner and event in the evening of September 18.
"It is inspiring that tribal leaders, youth and the Center for Native American Youth will be running together to raise awareness about the important issues facing American Indian children in this country," says Center's founder, former US Senator Byron Dorgan.
"The Ho-Chunk Youth Council reached out to the Center to ask how they could support our work with Dirk's 262-mile run. We are excited about the youth council's enthusiasm and thrilled to participate in their run and the community's suicide prevention events," says the Center's director Erin Bailey.
Eight years ago, Dirk Whitebreast lost his young sister, Darcy Jo Keahna, to suicide. She was only 18 years old. Since that day, Whitebreast took a hard look at his own life. He stopped using alcohol and became an avid runner, as well as a leader of his tribal community by serving as secretary of his tribal council.
posted September 7, 2011 6:20 am edt
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