Karuk Charity Run Inspires Youth

A group of Karuk youth joined distance runner and Karuk Tribal Council Member, Crispen McAllister on a 230-mile run through Karuk Ancestral Territory last month. From left to right: Maymi Donahue, Krysta Reynolds, Sinead Talley, Summer Goodwin, Jared Wilder, Beau Donahue, Crispin McAllister, Joey Gnomes, Brennan McCovey. / Photo courtesy of Maymi Preston-Donahue.

Council Members Run Through Ancestral Territory

By Maymi Preston-Donahue

Before the sun had yet started a new day, Karuk Council member Crispen King McAllister began an arduous run that would span over the entirety of the Karuk Ancestral territory. McAllister began the over 230 mile run in Orleans (also known as the village of Panamnik) on March 17 and ran up Highway 96 through the town of Happy Camp. From Happy Camp he continued on to Karuk housing in the town of Yreka. From there he turned around and returned to Orleans on March 21.

Two inspirations in general prompted McAllister to come up with this run, which he conducted independently from the tribe. Firstly, he sees long distance running and high endurance in general as being a part of the culture. Further, the run was partly paying homage to the eight Karuk runners who took part in the 1925 Redwood Highway race from San Francisco to Gants Pass, Ore.

“It is a part of our culture. I don’t want to see it go away,” said McAllister.

His second reason for coming up with the idea of this race was to promote and inspire Native Americans to make healthy choices. Running in itself helps to prevent common ailments such as diabetes and heart disease, both of which plague Native American communities disproportionately from that of other Americans.

Although the run was open to all, one group seemed to participate the most: the Karuk Youth Council. The Youth Council, which is a group of Karuk Youth who work to make changes in their communities while learning leadership skills, ran 12 miles with McAllister (through a rock slide) into Happy Camp. They finished their portion of the run by holding a Salmon Dinner with fish cooked on sticks in the traditional manner. The youth council and their adult supporters from the local community saw the run as a positive for the community; “It is nice to see a local leader being so involved with the community, and it is good to see the youth participating and carrying on traditional ways,” said one adult supporter and runner Dennis Donahue Jr. “It is good to see kids showing their pride in self by doing something positive rather than sitting around or causing trouble.”

The dinner promoted traditional and healthy foods like Salmon instead of fried or fatty foods. The dinner was also a fundraiser for the youth to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with First Lady, Michelle Obama to share their views on issues of importance such as domestic violence.

“I thought the salmon dinner went well and that the run was great,” said Council Member Krysta Reynolds.

“Yootva to all for helping to make this happen,” said another member, “This has been an epic experience.”

To make donations for runs, Karuk scholarships, and other projects to promote health and prosperity, please make out checks or money orders to the C.R.C. Run and mail to: Karuk Tribe, P.O. Box 1016, Happy Camp, CA. 96039.

Leave a Reply