Thanks for the awesome adventure! It was way more than I expected, good and bad. I really appreciate all everyone did to help make the swim such a success. I did enjoy the food, although it was a shock. I knew that we would be eating healthy, but I thought we would be eating healthier–not HEALTHY. I did learn a lot about myself and food; the realization was eye opening and I thank you for that. I still have a mile wide smile when someone asks me how it went.
Jerry Signor, Colville Confederated Tribes, 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swimmer
Sharing from their backgrounds as Lakota, Haida,Tlingit, Cheyene, Arkiara, Creek, and Colville
Confederated Tribes, the 2011 PATHSTAR participants began the ninth annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week by joining in a fireside circle on Alcatraz Island and setting their intentions. After being honored in the Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony circle with a special blessing, they (literally) immersed themselves in a rigorous week of education, experience, and expanding horizons—for themselves and for their communities back home. Each member of the PATHSTAR team responded to the many physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges during the week with remarkable courage and commitment, and all twelve 2011 PATHSTAR swimmers, ranging in age from 15 to 61, had an enormously successful crossing from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shore on October 17, 2011!
My inspiration comes from others who share their experience, strength, encouragement, and words of wisdom–blessings I received from all of those who touched my life while in California. I could not have done this without their contribution, along with my commitment, dedication, and drive to complete this swim. Jolene Martin, Lakota 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer
I can tell people, “Hey, I swam Alcatraz!” I can’t think of a more perfect opening statement. Any one is going to stop to hear what I have to say after hearing that.
Zolina Zizi, Cheyenne, Arikara, Creek 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer
We knew that we were coming here for the purpose of motivating our people back home and lighting that fire inside of them to overcome obstacles, to overcome their fears and get on a positive track in their lives – make healthy choices mentally, emotionally, and spiritually– everything that encompasses a healthy person. Overcoming fear (is) transforming (and) can transfer into different areas of life (that) seem unrelated. For instance, many people struggling with diseases such as alcoholism, depression, diabetes and drug addiction feel a loss of control in their lives, but by completing the PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim they would realize how they can regain control and live a healthy lifestyle.
Shelli Martinez, Coville Federated Tribes, 2011 PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmer