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News Release

Running Strong for American Indian Youth

Today, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills announced the fifth class of American Indian youth to receive $10,000 Dreamstarter grants for projects that help them bring their dreams to life. Each of the ten Dreamstarter recipients, who are all American Indian youth under age 30, will work together with a community nonprofit on a business supported by Running Strong for American Indian Youth.

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“Each year, our Dreamstarters inspire me with their incredible talent and limitless passion,” said Mills, who is Oglala Lakota (Sioux) from Pine Ridge, SD and co-founder of Running Strong. “The development of our young entrepreneurs must stay abreast of our communities’ economic development plans. I am proud of these young entrepreneurs and their commitment to build up their communities.”

The 2019 – 2020 Dreamstarters are:

Aukea Ka’aekuahiwi (Native Hawaiian), 15, Kapaau, HI

Dreams of expanding his business producing, selling and teaching youth about traditional pork products.

Taylor Eddie (Navajo), 16, Spanish Fork, UT

Dreams of an agriculture career and teaching youth how to raise animals.

Kevin Belin (Navajo), 29, Crownpoint, NM 

Dreams of creating and selling educational materials to strengthen Navajo language comprehension.

David Fraser (Oglala Lakota), 25, Kyle, SD 

Dreams of building and opening his own tire repair business, in the footsteps of his great grandfather.

Hope Gamble (Navajo), 14, Nazlini, AZ 

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Dreams of creating and selling comic strips about Navajo creation stories.

Jacob Crane (Tsuut’ina Nation), 29, Provo, UT 

Dreams of expanding his Indigenous-led media production company, creating videos that empower Native youth.

Carl Petersen (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), 20, Parade, SD 

Dreams of creating a video game designed by and for Native people.

Parrish Pipestem (Eastern Band of Cherokee), 15, Tulsa, OK 

Dreams of expanding his business by investing in infrastructure that will streamline his processes.

Joshua Smith (Osage Nation), 29, Portsmouth, VA 

Dreams of creating a Native-owned and operated, socially-conscious coffee roasting business.

Freddy Gipp (Apache Tribe of Oklahoma), 25, Lawrence, KS 

Dreams of helping communities increase economic opportunity through cultural programming.

More information about the fifth class of Dreamstarters and their projects is available at

Running Strong has given away a total of fifty $10,000 Dreamstarter grants over five years to support Native youth’s dreams for their communities. This program was announced on October 14, 2014, to mark the 50 anniversary of Billy Mills’ gold medal win at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

On October 14, 1964, Billy Mills, an Oglala Lakota (Sioux) runner, won the 10,000-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics in an upset, come-from-behind victory that has been called the greatest race in American Olympic history, and ever since has been an inspiration to Native youth and all Americans. He is still the only person from the Western hemisphere ever to win that event. He co-founded Running Strong for American Indian Youth in 1986 to help others live their dreams. Mills announced the Dreamstarter program on the 50 anniversary of his gold medal win, to help Native youth believe in the power of their dreams to build strong futures for themselves and their communities.

Additional information about the program can be found at