“This past week was life changing and the swim itself was transcendental. I will never look at the ocean nor myself the same again and this is just the beginning. Now, I must go out and teach what I’ve learned about nutrition and exercise. I’m hoping to take everything that I’ve learned, maintain it in my own life and be a catalyst for change in other people’s lives. Thank you, PATHSTAR for awakening in me the commitment to help myself and my community!

—Nellenda Rublico, Cherokee, 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer

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:

This experience allowed me to see a piece of a culture and lifestyle (cold water swimming and healthy food choices, which go hand in hand) that I never knew existed! I became one with this eclectic group of swimming humans for a week! Now, I am free to dream and know, in my heart, anything is possible! What a blessing!I I continue to eat as I did in SF. What joy that is! I feel invincible. Like there is nothing I can’t do. I swam Alcatraz! We swam it. There is nothing we can’t do! It is good to be able to approach life with the attitude that anything is possible! Thank you PATHSTAR!  Love and Prayers!

-Karen Elizabeth Wapato, Colville Confederated Tribes, Nez Perce, 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer.

Our quality of life depends upon our choices and the way we undertake our obstacles. PATHSTAR provides each of us the opportunity to empower ourselves by triumphing over barriers and building healthy habits that will last a lifetime!

—Shelli Joy Martinez, Colville Confederated Tribes, 2011, 2012, and 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer

I’m still floating … That MC Hammer song “can’t touch this” haha ! This truly was a life changing experience . I know when I turned 50, I told my 2 kids, look out! I’m starting my second childhood now…. But your PATHSTAR program is letting me start a new healthier life!

—Sally Hutton, Colville Confederated Tribes, 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer

The accomplishment of the grandmothers, aunties, and sisters including my participation, are moments to reflect on many times as we sit alone with our thoughts. The guides during this week were instrumental in helping us on the path to that dim star. The star will shine brilliantly after the message of hope, faith, and knowledge of taking back your choice of truly being healthy in the food we partake of begins. A path, a sacred path of taking care of the gift the Creator gave to us, our bodies. A star, above us during the day and at night, guiding us and shining the light to be safe along the path.

—Jeffrey Not Help Him, Oglala Lakota, 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer, 2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz pilot.


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 2014 through the Alcatraz Swim Week October 5-13, 2014 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.  2013 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swimmers present the workshop:

“PATHSTAR Alcatraz 2013:  What’s Next?”

13th Native Men’s and Women’s Wellness Conference

American Indian Institute, University of Oklahoma (San Diego, CA) March 16-19, 2014.


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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