Interior Secretary Deb Haaland runs Boston Marathon to mark Indigenous Peoples Day

"I run because my ancestors gave me this ability," Haaland wrote.

October 11, 2021, 2:11 PM

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day by running the Boston Marathon on Monday, honoring ancestors that ran before her.

“I started running about 20 years ago," Haaland wrote in an op-ed she penned for the Boston Globe. "Along the way to running my first marathon, I began to think deeply about the story of my people who have used running not only to get places but to preserve their traditions and culture. ... I run because my ancestors gave me this ability," she later continued.

PHOTO: Ellison M. "Tarzan" Brown, a 22-year-old a member of Rhode Island's Narragansett tribe, breaks the tape to win the 40th annual Boston Marathon, April 19, 1936,in Boston.
Ellison M. "Tarzan" Brown, a 22-year-old a member of Rhode Island's Narragansett tribe, breaks the tape to win the 40th annual Boston Marathon, April 19, 1936,in Boston. Organizers of the Boston Marathon are seeking to make amends for running the 125th edition on Indigenous Peoples Day by throwing the spotlight on Brown, who won the race twice in the 1930s and inspired the name "Heartbreak Hill." The Boston Athletic Association said Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, it will honor Brown's legacy at the pandemic-altered Oct. 11 running of the race.
AP, FILE

Haaland also went on Twitter to mark the holiday, saying "it is more important than ever to recognize Indigenous Peoples as the first stewards of this land."

President Joe Biden became the first president to issue a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day.

"Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society," Biden wrote on Friday.

In a separate proclamation marking Columbus Day, he also acknowledged the "wrongs and atrocities" that European explorers brought to native communities.

As secretary, Haaland has made a point to focus on Indigenous communities by expanding the United States' climate policies to include Indigenous traditional knowledge, taking steps to address both the missing and murdered Indigenous peoples across the country, and by restoring tribal homelands.

PHOTO: Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks during a welcome ceremony for a totem pole carved by the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation, on the National Mall, July 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks during a welcome ceremony for a totem pole carved by the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation, on the National Mall, July 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File

"Indigenous Peoples' Day is also a day when we remember the sacrifices of our ancestors and their survival during the dark eras of colonization and assimilation — eras in which Native Americans suffered atrocities that manifest themselves in health disparities, lack of basic infrastructure, the missing and murdered Indigenous peoples' crisis, and so much more," Haaland also wrote for the Globe.

Haaland is not the only high-profile politician participating in the marathon. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., will be running, too. She is expected to be met with protests.

PHOTO: Indigenous people and other climate activists raise their fists during a climate change protest on Indigenous Peoples' Day outside the White House in Washington, Oct. 11, 2021.
Indigenous people and other climate activists raise their fists during a climate change protest on Indigenous Peoples' Day outside the White House in Washington, Oct. 11, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Meanwhile, other protestors, including Indigenous peoples, gathered at the White House on Monday morning to pressure the Biden administration to take action against climate change and fossil fuels. These protests are expected to continue all week.

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