Cherokee Nation kicks off cross-country 2022 Sovereignty Run

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is kicking off a national campaign for tribal sovereignty.

They’re making their way to California for the 20th anniversary Sovereignty Run. National Congress of American Indians and Bright Path Strong are hosting the event.

It started at the Cherokee Nation Head quarters in Tahlequah on Monday morning.

With each mile, runners from all over have a message as they make their way across Oklahoma to California by the end of October. This is a spiritual journey. Not only for us but for all of Indian Country,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the NCAI.

“We want to honor our ancestors and we want to gather to see that very clear vision that we all see very bright future,” she said.

The purpose is to call attention to the breakdown of tribal sovereignty on reservation lands.

“We’re still here and we’re strong and this is a symbol of it today,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said tribal nations won’t waiver when it comes to their sovereignty. Hoskin said the Cherokee Nation sovereignty is strong but facing challenges.

“I’d like the foes to understand that we’re a powerful group. We are still here and they should be worried about our strength. But our friends across the country which outnumber our foes, out to be enthused to get behind us,” Hoskin said.

“I think it’s great for the kids, the future generations to show up and to see what our tribal leaders, our ancestors have done to hear about it, to learn about it, and to hold it deep into their hearts,” said run participant Rhonda Harjo.

After a prayful song and laying of hands on the 25-ft. totem pole, they hit the pavement to make a difference.

“We’re going to bring the prayers that we’re gathering on each stop to every community between here and every stop on our way to Sacramento, California,” Sharp said.

“I’d like to see the tribal nations continue to lead on tribal lands, which really is a win for everybody,” Hoskin added.

The Sovereignty Run pays homage to Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe.

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