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Ak-Chin Indian Community hosts 25th Annual Unity Run with other O’odham tribes

Annual Unity Run brings 20-year tradition and prayers among Tohono O’odham Communities
Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O'odham Runner Newspaper

In March, the Ak-Chin Indian Community hosted and participated in the Unity Run. Community members and employees served as runners and volunteers to help make the event a success. Four tribes host the annual Unity Run to help preserve, strengthen, and offer prayers for their nations. 

The run began on Sunday, March 8, traveling from the Tohono O’odham Nation to arrive in the Ak-Chin Indian Community on Wednesday, March 11. After an overnight stay, the group then ran to the Gila River Indian Community and ended in the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community on Saturday, March 14. This is the 25th anniversary of the Unity Run. 

Ak-Chin Indian Community hosts 25th Annual Unity Run with other O’odham tribes

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Runner newspaper

Seven Ak-Chin Indian Community members participated as runners. Though the weather that week was rainy and muggy, it did not dampen the spirits of those participating in the event as runners, volunteers or spectators.

Volunteers and employees from the Community helped to coordinate a successful overnight camp for the runners when they arrived at Milton Paul Antone Memorial Park. Vekol Market provided dinner and breakfast for the group, and different departments from the Ak-Chin Indian Community-contributed time and resources. 

Ak-Chin Indian Community hosts 25th Annual Unity Run with other O’odham tribes

Photo courtesy of Ak-Chin O’odham Runner newspaper

Once the runners arrived and settled in, members of the Ak-Chin Youth Council performed traditional songs, and Ak-Chin Indian Community Vice Chairman Gabriel Lopez offered a blessing and welcome to the group.  

A small group of people from the United States and Mexico founded the Unity Run in 1995, according to an article in the Ak-Chin O’odham Runner newspaper. The team included representation from multiple tribes: Tohono O’odham, HiaCed O’odham, and Akimel O’odham. Their main goal was to raise awareness about the legacy of their ancestors from centuries ago, according to the article. The event also strives to maintain the traditions of running and carrying prayers to help preserve the history, language, and culture of the tribes. 

Ak-Chin Indian Community hosts 25th Annual Unity Run with other O’odham tribes

Congratulations to the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the other tribes for another successful, meaningful Unity Run!

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Carolyn Sostrom is a long-time Arizona resident who loves desert sunsets, warm weather and zumba. As a writer, she’s covered technology, medical and travel topics.

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