The Sand Creek
Spiritual Healing Run:

A new Arapaho tradition

Beginning in the year 2000, Northern Arapaho youth and young adults began running - a long ways. They ran from Sand Creek, Colorado to Ethete, Wyoming - a distance of several hundred miles. They did this to commemorate the Sand Creek massacre, and also to help themselves and the Tribe heal from the negative memories of that event.

The runs have gone ever since then, including one which terminated on the CU campus in Boulder. The runners go in relays of one to two persons each, with the others riding in a van which accompanies the runners. The runs take several days to complete, and are normally done during the hottest summer months.

Long distance running is an old tradition among the Arapaho, and the ability to run great distances without stopping is seen as a sign of not just physical health, but spiritual blessedness and proper living. Arapaho religion in general places great stress on endurance; there are three consecutive days of Sun Dancing, four days of fasting during vision quests, and sweat lodge ceremonies can also be quite rigorous.

The runs connect sacred places, but they also serve to build sacred connections across time, from the past to the present. They are a uniquely Arapaho way of relating to time and place in Colorado.

 

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