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A Lakota Woman Competed in the Boston Marathon to Honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

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This is a powerful story.

Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel recently ran the Boston Marathon with a very important hashtag written on her body. The purpose of the hashtag, MMIW, scrawled on Daniel? To call attention to “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn.”

The New York Times has reported that 84% of indigenous women have suffered from physical, sexual, or psychological violence in their lifetimes. 84%!

During each mile of the marathon, Daniel said a prayer for 26 indigenous women who are either missing or have been murdered. During the final .02 miles of the race, she prayed for Nyal Brings, her late grandfather who inspired her to run.

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26 miles, 26 names, 26 prayers: . I ran the #BostonMarathon. I ran 26.2 miles on the most recognized and prestigious courses in the world because I was helping to raise money for the Wings of America Pursuit Program. The last couple of years, I’ve been using my running platform to help raise awareness of an alarming issue: the epidemic & national crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn, Girls #MMIWG. It breaks my heart that I can even make a list of 26 sisters taken from our communities. For 26 miles, I said her name, with a prayer. I painted #MMIW on my legs, a red hand print covering my mouth to symbolize our sisters voices silenced & red, for the movement, this issue. The federal government has failed to include and investigate into the growing number of cases of our relatives murdered and missing. The heartbreaking fact is we don’t know the exact number. In 2016, Annita Lucchesi (Indigenous researcher) of the UIHI (formerly) identified 5,712 cases were reported but only 116 of those cases were documented in the Department of Justice databases. Murder is the third leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Native Womxn. Having access to law enforcement databases to collect this information proved to be difficult. More needs to be done. More laws to protect our people. More accountability. Justice and healing for the family and communities. We are speaking out. We have incredible Womxn reporting on this, organizing, and in seats of power to shine light on this epidemic to find solutions that bring safety & justice. These are the 26 names I prayed for. . . Amanda Webster•Savanna LaFontaine Greywind•Miranda Tenorio•Britney Tiger•Ashley Loring Heavyrunner•Lakota Rae Renville•Lucella Yazzie•Olivia LoneBear•Henny Scott•Ashlynn Mike•Jessika Alva•Josie Lee Head•Ariel Begay•Sunshine Wood•Raven Henry•Whisper Little Owl Horseman (FOUND)•Angel Rose Tomow•Lauren Two Bulls•Anela Gipp Alkire(FOUND)•Mariah High Hawk•Freda KnowsHisGun•Trinity Kriener•Anndiné Jones•Tamra Keepness•Noreen Osborne•Starla SpiritTrack ❤️ . . To all of our stolen sisters, I love you. I run for you. Never forgotten. Mitakuye Oyasin ✊🏽 📷 @devinwhetstone

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Daniel’s mouth was also painted red during the marathon to symbolize the many indigenous women who have been silenced by violence.

Daniel said, “I felt so proud and so honored to be able to run this run for those 26 women and for my grandfather. None of it had anything to do with me. I just had to provide the body to run those miles. That was the very least that I could do.”

Daniel is a Kul Wičasa Lakota and is the founder of the Rising Hearts Coalition, a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting indigenous people. She also ran the marathon as a chaperone for Wings of America, an organization that empowers Native American runners and youth leaders.

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This Kul Wičasa Lakota finished the 2019 123rd #BostonMarathon in 3:02:11 (with only a month and a half of training)! The last time I ran Boston, my Grampy was sending me texts and calling me with his normal pep talks. He passed away a couple months later from cancer so this was emotional. I said a prayer for a stolen sister for every mile #MMIW. But the last .2 to the finish line, I thought about Lala Nyal. I started to cry because I miss him so much and this was all so overwhelmingly amazing. My mom @tdaniel01 and partner @devinwhetstone cheered me on at mile 13 and mile 25. This was beyond amazing. And I’m forever grateful. I’m proud to be Indigenous. There’s still time donate to @wings_of_america (Link In BIO)! Lila Wopila tanka to everyone for the support! It means the world. ✊🏽💕🏃🏽‍♀️

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Regarding the MMIW hashtag she painted onto her body, Daniel said, “MMIW is the longest standing ‘Me Too’ movement that we’ve had since colonization, since 1492, and no one ever talks about that.” She added, “Action needs to be done, accountability needs to be there, and justice needs to happen for these families that are affected in our communities.”

Daniel was introduced to running by her late grandfather, a long distance runner at the University of South Dakota.

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Making my way up Heartbreak 💔 Hill. How fitting though. At that moment in the race, I realized the name of the hills and how it was heartbreaking to run for our Missing and Murdered. Thinking of their families and communities that have yet to see justice or healing. I’ve been asked a lot about my run for #MMIWG and all I can say is, it was honor. It was the very least I could do. I’ve found a new purpose with my running platform and that is to run for our stolen sisters and children. Before, I ran for fun, ran to compete, ran to get new PR’s and in the last few years since #StandingRock, I’ve run to raise awareness of these frontline fights our people are fighting to protect. This run was mixed with happiness, honor, pain, heartbreak, focus, and tears. Our relatives have no voice anymore. I ran for them and will run for them. I hope to elevate the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn and children, and Peoples to beyond Indian Country. More need to know. Action is needed. Accountability is needed. Unity is needed. This was the best race of my life. For once, it all made sense. . . . . 📍Wampanoag, Massa-adchu-es-et, Pawtucket Lands

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Her goal is to bring her message to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Daniel said, “Any race that I do, I plan on doing research and finding more stolen sisters, stolen relatives that are part of this movement, which is heartbreaking in and of itself, but it’s to make sure that I’m giving them a platform and an opportunity to be voice and a presence, to be heard through my running.”