“I firmly believe we as people—and I mean all people of all beautiful races—must stand together in each of our individual personal pursuits of a better quality of life. We must not only dream of positive change but we must take action— with every step we take, every challenge we meet, every event we promote, every person that we involve—every individual, group, and community. The key to a healthier future is to keep succeeding in opening one door at a time and to never to give up, because this is a never ending process.”

—Terry Mills, Oglala Lakota, 6 time PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week participant

Watch KPIX’s Eye on the Bay feature about the 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week, and listen to KALW’s Cross Currents about the 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week:

At the start of the 2014 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swim week, 1st time participant Elizabeth Best, Colville Confederated Tribes, wrote: “All participants have arrived, bringing the total to 7. Two from Pine Ridge and five from the Colville Tribe. We ate our first meal together tonight. Can already feel and see the teamwork being created. Teamwork makes the dreamwork. This is go-ing to be a powerful week for us all. I hope my heart and mind can be as open as possible to all the great things coming this week.”

At the end of the week, she wrote, “My experience at PATHSTAR provided much more than I had anticipated. I knew all areas of the medicine wheel (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) would be touched on but I had no idea that I would be impacted so strongly. I loved that the program offers a healthy balance (both literally and metaphorically) of each of the areas to help one truly capture all around wellness! It seems like a dream to look back and think I completed the week successfully. I returned home empowered with courage, trust in my-self, and first hand experience that I can achieve much greater things than I have ever allowed myself. The week offers so many great tools for personal wellness! I loved everything that it of-fered from walks, educational talks, cooking meals, trying new activities, learning about spices, gardening for a day and, of course, the opportunity to swim in the Bay. I speak of the week with pride and gladly share knowledge learned with anyone who wants to listen.”

—Elizabeth Best, Colville Confederated Tribes,
2014 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week Participant


PATHSTAR is looking for 5 teams of two or more participants who are inspired by PATHSTAR’s mission and want to be agents for change in their community.  This is a minimum one year commitment starting from the time of the acceptance of your team in July 2015 through the Alcatraz Swim Week October 11-19, 2015 and with follow-up back home through July of 2015.  Your team will partner with PATHSTAR in local and national fundraising, community education, preparation for and participation in the Alcatraz Swim Week, including swimming from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, sharing your experiences and learning with your family and community through implementing change in your life, and speaking to community groups and conferences.

PATHSTAR is looking for participants with the drive, courage, and self determination to change their lives and influence the lives of those around them.  The greatest underlying principal is community building and team work.  That is why PATHSTAR’s program requires teams of two or more people from a given community to participate in the program together.

We request that team mates complete the application together and encourage support from family, friends and local community groups, churches, agencies, or employers.  PATHSTAR encourages letters of recommendation that describe the values, character, commitment to follow through, and reputation for community involvement of an individual team member or the team as a whole.  PATHSTAR encourages team members to be sponsored and supported as representatives of the community before they leave for the Alcatraz Swim Week.

For application packet, click here:


PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmers selected as ambassadors for health.

PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmers have been selected to share their experiences and insights with the North American Native and Indigenous people in upcoming University of Oklahoma’s American Indian Institute conferences.  2014 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swimmers present the workshop:

“PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Program: Swimming for Life, One Stroke at a Time”
Seven participants (Colville and Lakota) completed the PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week in
October, 2014. Literally and metaphorically they took the plunge and immersed themselves into an 8-day intensive of healthy lifestyles and nutrition, creating their success, one stroke at a time.

2015 Native Diabetes Prevention Conference
American Indian Institute, University of Oklahoma (Phoenix, AZ), January 25-28, 2015.

14th Native Men’s and Women’s Wellness Conference
American Indian Institute, University of Oklahoma (San Diego, CA) March 22-25, 2015.


Click here to read a fantastic blog piece by Patrick O’Neill of Extraordinary Conversations Inc., about the Pathstar Swim.

For more information and to order a copy of the DVD, visit: www.badlandstoalcatraz.org

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