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27th Annual Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run

As the wind blows across the Plains, returning breath to the land and snow to the soil, Northern Cheyenne youth are preparing to return home. On January 8th, 60 plus Northern Cheyenne youth and 30 volunteers and chaperones will gather at Crawford Community Center to pray, share stories, and host the annual Day of Education that precedes the Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual 400mi Run.

The Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run, now in its 27th year, commemorates the historical Cheyenne Outbreak of 1879, which was a pivotal event in the federal recognition process of today’s reservation. It has grown from its humble beginning of 14 runners into a six-day, 400 mile journey that traces the steps ancestors made through the plains of Nebraska, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Eastern slopes of Montana to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

On the Day of Education, Northern Cheyenne youth will have the opportunity to connect with and listen to Native speakers, activists, artists, athletes, and culture bearers from across the country; mentors and teachers that represent hope for the future. It is a day of reconnection and a day of learning; to ground before the long journey ahead. On January 9th at 10:30pm, our youth will break out of the rebuilt barracks of Fort Robinson and begin the journey home.

Today, the run honors the sacrifice and life of ancestors; creating pathways for healing from intergenerational trauma. It also builds bridges between cultures creating a greater respect for and understanding of diversity. Through witnessing Native leaders our youth are deepening their connection to their lifeways. The run instills in them a sense of pride, greater self-esteem, a deeper respect for their identity, sincere appreciation and connection to their homeland and to the value of life itself.

Yellow Bird is a non-profit organization founded by Phillip Whiteman Jr. (Northern Cheyenne Traditional Chief) and Lynette Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota), located on the beautiful Northern Cheyenne Homelands in Southeastern Montana. Youth and elders are at the core of our organization because they represent the future and the wisdom needed to carry on. Yellow Bird
was founded on the traditional principles of “reciprocity” and “giving back” to our community. Now, after 20 years of youth programming, Yellow Bird has grown to include Youth Leadership & Empowerment, Arts & Culture, Food Sovereignty, Wellness, Social Justice, Environmental Justice, and Community Empowerment and Development.


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