“What I love most about running is the rhythm, at a very base level. You can go into this rhythmic trance…and just find thoughts you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. It’s your breath in conversation with whatever terrain you’re running.”
Dustin Martin (Diné) is the Executive Director of Wings of America, a non-profit organization based in Albuquerque, NM that empowers Native youth and their families through running. If you’ve listened to past episodes of this show, you have likely heard so many shout-outs to both Dustin and the Wings of America program. Dustin is a lifelong runner who grew up in Gallup, NM but spent his high school years in Albuquerque. He went on to run Division I Cross Country at Columbia University, where he also expanded his passion for the arts through silk screen printing and Indigenous design. In this conversation, we talk about how his professional life and running intersected, how his philosophy around running has evolved over time, and his own experience as a Native student-athlete at an Ivy League institution.
The pandemic has dramatically shifted the work of Wings of America, so Dustin tells us more about how they’ve managed to keep connecting to community through running on virtual platforms. Wings of America holds an important role in the broader Indigenous running community through various initiatives, including their sponsorship of an all-Native American National Team the USATF Cross-Country Nationals every year and the Wings Pursuit Program, which provides Native student-athletes the opportunity to attend Boston Marathon weekend and learn more about college pathways.
In this Episode:
- Wings of America
- “Designer Profile, Dustin Martin,” by Dr. Jessica Metcalfe, Beyond Buckskin– About Native American Fashion, September 14, 2010
- “Brother and sister run the Boston Marathon in moccasins,” by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, IndianCountryToday.com, April 15, 2019
- “Pablo Vigil: The Man Behind a Remarkable Sierre-Zinal Record” by Doug Mayer, RuntheAlps.com, April 25, 2015
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Music by Jacob Shije (Santa Clara Pueblo, NM).
This podcast was made possible through the Tracksmith Fellowship Program.