Celebrating 30 years of Wings of America

Celebrating 30 years of Wings of America

SANTA FE, N.M. — It was a veritable Gathering of Nations packed into the entertaining spaces of Hotel Santa Fe, with tribal members who have excelled, and risen to national and international prominence. I’m not talking about some trendy celebrities of the minute. I mean real achievers with major accomplishments and deserved recognition.

Billy Mills was a fast runner back in the day, “fleet as the wind,” and his specialty was the grueling 10,000-meter race. He ran barefoot. When he was chosen to go to Tokyo for the 1964 Olympics, the regular American runner was supposed to win. Billy Mills had no running shoes and had to borrow some. And, surprise, the Lakota Sioux won the gold medal! Sitting here at our table, over 50 years later!

N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa, New Mexico’s venerable and beloved poet emeritus, was at the next table over, and he spoke about the Native American oral tradition and a race of storytellers, always being “one step away from extinction – the oral tradition relies on memory, therefore one talks with great responsibility.” Both of these esteemed gentlemen sat on the discussion panel for that interesting section of the evening, along with Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo sculptor of chubby beings, who spoke about redeveloping ancestral foods, and others. As a three-time American-record holder for running speed, Patti Dillon came to support the cause. And others … .

They were here among 150 running enthusiasts who came together in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Wings of America, an organization founded in 1988 by Will Channing, Andrew Hixon and Oren Lyons to support young Native American runners. That very first year, the team went to Raleigh and surprised everyone by winning the national title!

Wonderful original Indian art was available in the auction! A rare opportunity to snap up an Abeyta, Coffin, Fields, Haouzous, Harvard, Houser, Lara! Then, etc., artists from M-Z! The funds they raised will go toward health, fitness and education in the pueblos.
“Run that the ancestors hear your approach. Run that dreams may echo your steps … . Run for the sacred sake of running.”
– N. Scott Momaday from “A Prayer for Those Who Run”

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

Will Channing, board chair of Wings.

Patti Dillon of the Mi’kmaq tribe, a record-holding long-distance runner.

Margie Kanine, original director of Wings.

Craig Quanchello, Picuris Pueblo Governor.

Mayor Webber attended the Wings event.

Joanna Hess and Doug Coffin.

Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota and a gold medalist in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, with Liza Carp.

Literary icon M. Scott Momaday spoke on the panel.

Roxanne Swentzell, sculptress.

Cross-country runners Jackson Thomas and Abraham Kosgei.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *