Uplifting Indigenous runners: Navajo woman highlights athletes through project

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Exploring the intersection of running, community, land and culture is the motto and mission of Dinée Dorame, host of Grounded Podcast. Every week, Dorame interviews runners of all backgrounds to talk about their experiences and connection to running.

Born and raised in Albuquerque and a citizen of the Navajo Nation, the self-identified “running nerd” said her parents were the ones who instilled in her a passion for running at a young age. “As a Navajo runner, as someone who really values running as a movement that connects me to the land, connects me to my culture, running has been something that’s been important to me my whole life,” Dorame said.

While not technically a collegiate athelete, Dorame said running was something she continued when she attended college and served as a healthy outlet for her. When COVID-19 hit, it was a difficult time for her to be so disconnected from her family. “It’s been stressful, it’s been really sad to understand that there’s a barrier between me and a lot of my family in the Navajo Nation because I’m in Albuquerque,” Dorame said.

Since last year, Dorame has been trying to channel her energy into something positive. That’s when she heard about the Tracksmith Fellowship, which was in its inaugural year aims to highlight runners’ experiences and inspire positive action within the running community. They’d take a cohort of three to six people from around the country and support them through a year-long grant.

Photo on the left courtesy of Jupiter Photography

She applied for the grant in late summer last year, which started her on a long process of interviews to be a finalist for the grant. “I would say I’m someone who likes to write, likes to talk to people which certainly prompted this project, but that project was so intimidating because I was thinking, I don’t even know if I’m a creative in running or sports media yet, I don’t know where I fit,” Dorame said.

Dorame thought starting a podcast could help her create something that she felt was lacking in the podcasting world–Indigenous representation. Podcasts have always been something she was drawn to, and often listened to them when she went running. She does all of her own recording and editing, as was able to afford good quality equipment with funds from the fellowship. She does her own graphics and marketing as well, and recruited a musician from the Santa Clarita Pueblo to write and record the theme song for the podcast.

One of her goals with the project is it uplift Indigenous runners and people who are in her community. Her podcast officially launched at the beginning of the year. So far, she has spoken with nationally known runners, but she intends to speak with local runners as well. “It’s really important to me that I represent Albuquerque and New Mexico in this opportunity because this is where I’m from and has definitely shaped me,” Dorame said.

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