Tread mindfully and in step with nature, no matter the trail you choose.
Native people have an unbroken connection with and unique knowledge of their ancestral lands. As runners who recreate outside, we should do our part to help preserve these lands for future generations.
“Too often our ancestral lands are treated as something to be conquered, or ‘beat’ and it’s important to show respect by practicing mindfulness when in these spaces,” explained Jaime Martin, tribal member and executive director of governmental affairs and special projects with the Snoqualmie Tribe, a sovereign, federally recognized Tribal government in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.
The Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement
Brooks is partnering with the Snoqualmie Tribe to help spread the word about its Ancestral Lands Movement. Our main goal? Educate runners about the lands we run on.
“Mindful connection to the land is critical to ensure health and care for both the land and people,” added Martin.
The Ancestral Lands Movement informs the public and local government leaders to know more about the Tribe in general, about the importance of the Tribe’s ancestral lands to its people, and how everyone can have a role to play in taking care of these lands as folks live, work, and recreate on them.
According to Martin, this movement extends throughout North America beyond the Snoqualmie Tribe’s lands.
“All land is tribal land. Whether or not an individual is aware of the tribal governments or tribal people in their area, the land they live, work, and recreate on is important. Recreating mindfully benefits everyone and is the first step in practising real respect and acknowledgment towards tribal people,” she said.
Eighth Generation, a Seattle-based company that is owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe, provides a strong ethical alternative to “Native-inspired” art with 100% Native-designed products. Brooks and Eighth Generation have partnered to commission Native artists to create new pieces using the following prompt:
There are some Native people that connect running to ceremony and spirituality. It’s the connection of feet to land, the control of breath, and the heart-pounding intensity that elevates and lifts the spirit; for many it is a prayer. Eighth Generation is proud to partner with Brooks Running to collaborate with Native artists to explore the intersection of running, spirituality, and connection to the land. Running is medicine.
At Brooks, we encourage you to practice mindfulness when out on trail runs, and to be cognizant of land around you as more than just a trail to check off a list or a time to beat.
Watch the video below to learn how acknowledging ancestral Native lands can deepen the running experience for all of us.
How can you help?
With guidance from the Snoqualmie Tribe, here are actionable steps you can take to respect the lands you run on:
Research the land you run on before you step foot on the path. Challenge yourself to learn about the tribe whose land you’re running on — and the culture and values of those Native peoples — who are still present today.
If you see signage on a trail that erases the Native community to which it belongs, contact the organization or government agency responsible for the signage. For example, if trail signage represents the importance or history of the place as starting when settlers arrived, advocate for land managers to consult meaningfully with the local tribe(s) to make sure the first peoples are included appropriately in interpretive signage.
Commit to experiencing land through mindfulness, not conquest. This can include ditching your watch and focusing on being present on your run, without tracking your stats.
Acknowledge the original caretakers of the land you’re running on. This can show up for you in different ways, whether that’s through verbal or written acknowledgement.
Pick up your trash, other people’s trash, and generally leave no trace.
Support Native tribes in recognizing and supporting their sovereign and inherent rights.
Remember — all runners, and all people for that matter, can enhance and improve their experience by familiarizing themselves with the first caretakers of this land and the importance of the land on which we run.
Brooks is committed to partnering with and supporting Native communities as runners, First Peoples of the places where we run, and sovereign nations — past, present, and future. By learning and practicing mindfulness, we can protect the land for generations to come.