After running for the University of Maine, Jordan Daniel found a purpose for her sport greater than competition. Today, she laces up her New Balance shoes to raise awareness for causes related to indigenous people, specifically missing and murdered women.
A February report from the Urban Indian Health Institute stated there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls in 2016, but the U.S. Department of Justice database only logged 116 cases.
The runner and activist garnered national attention during the 2019 Boston Marathon, where she ran with a red handprint painted over her mouth and said a prayer at each of the 26 miles for a different woman. “I’m trying to change the narrative of people thinking we don’t exist anymore, that we’re not important. We are still here,” Daniel told FN. “My main goal is to increase our visibility and create platforms to have indigenous voices to be centered and uplifted on the issues.”
Her efforts have inspired others to perform similar acts. Rosalie Fish, a high school senior from Muckleshoot Tribal School in Washington, dedicated her track events to four women. “I’m hoping this starts a movement and more runners do this, especially indigenous athletes,” Daniel said.
As for herself, she plans to continue to use her platform to bring awareness to the issue. Her next race: The Mammoth Half Marathon in California on June 23.
Below, Daniel sounds off on her favorite indigenous designers, who inspires her and more.
WHAT EMPOWERS ME WHEN RUNNING
“Connecting with the land. It helps re-center me when I most need it.”
PEOPLE I LOOK UP TO
“My grandfather, Nyal Brings. He’s Sičangu Lakota. And [Olympic gold medalist track and field athlete] Billy Mills. He’s Oglala Lakota.”
NATIVE TRADITIONS I TAKE PART IN
“Pow wows at home in South Dakota or locally, and learning the Lakota language.”
INDIGENOUS FASHION DESIGNERS I ADMIRE
“Bethany Yellowtail. She incorporates indigenous people’s work and provides a place to lift up other indigenous artists.”
BIGGEST ISSUE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE FACING
“We need to be seen, heard and acknowledged. It’s not happening as much as it needs to be.”
HOW SPORT AND FASHION CAN AMPLIFY ACTIVISM
“It’s all about representation and visibility.”
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