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Our Sacred Ceremonies
The Lipan Apache Tribe’s Badger Run

About The Lipan Apache Tribe's Badger Run

            The Badger Run is a ceremonial run, not a race, of the Lipan Apache Tribe (of Texas) which starts the Lipan Apache Tribe’s annual Nde Daa Homecoming Pow-Wow (2nd week-end March) and symbolizes an event portrayed in the Lipan Apache Tribe’s Creation story. The story accounts that in the beginning, all people—the Tree People, the Animal People, and the Apache People—live in a dark under-earth. The people asked for volunteers to go up to the earth and check if it was ready for people. Crow volunteered. Crow went up to check but was side-tracked when he found fish to eat so he did not return as promised. Beaver was the next to volunteer to check, but Beaver, too, did not return as promised. Instead, he started building his home on a river. Finally, Badger volunteered to go up to the surface to check if the world was ready for people. Badger was trustworthy and promised to come back. When Beaver saw the world was ready, Badger ran back to the people to tell them. (You can read more of The Emergence in the Lipan Apache Creation story here: Lipan Emergence.

            The Badger Run also celebrates the eagle, the chief of all birds, through the ceremonial use of eagle feathers, observed by us since creation.

            There have always been Lipan Apache people who are Badgers, Lipans who are seen as “born-to-run” long distance and who are trustworthy. Runners for the Badger Run are recruited from this pool of Lipan Apaches. Each Badger Run has one to four Badger runners with each of the four representing the one of the four directions—north, west, east, and south. Based on the direction they represent, the Badger runners are identified by color: the White Badger (North), the Yellow Badger (West), the Blue Badger (South), and the Black Badger (East). The Yellow Badger is always female based on our story of Changing Woman (the Moon) who is eternal because she turns west. The White Badger, who represents the directions from which the Lipan Apache people emerged, is the leader. The White Badger approves the course, makes sure that the other three runners know the run’s track for all three stages, starts the run, and sets the pace for the run. There may be one to four alternate runners or Grey Badgers who will sometimes run with but behind the four main runners.

In 2021, our one Badger Runner was:
  • Victoria Soto-Martinez (North, White Badger, Leader).
Victonia carried the eagle feather baton for six miles to the site of the pow-wow.

Learn more about Victoria and the 2020 Badger Runners here: Meet the 2021 Runner and also the four 2020 Badger Runners.

The Badger Run is in three stages.

First: The Badger runners run 4 to 20 miles from a selected point to the site of the Nde Daa Pow-Wow with each runner holding a Sacred Staff corresponding to the colors white, yellow, blue, and black. We encourage that only the four Badgers and any alternates runners participate in this first stage. At the end of the run, the four Badger runners hand their staffs to the waiting leaders of the tribe. Their individual staffs become one.

Second: Holding their staffs, the Badger runners run to a site close to the Nde Daa Pow-Wow where our Apache people are waiting. We encourage that tribe members who want to participate gather at this place. This year, this waiting site will be the park next to the Lark Center.

Third: The Badger Runners lead and walk the people back to the site of the Pow-Wow.

The 2020 Badger Run During the Covid19 Pandemic

In 2020, we were unable to open our annual pow wow to the public because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tribe agreed with the City of McAllen that it was not safe to do so for both of our annual pow wows, one in Spring (March) and the other in Fall (October). When the March pow wow was cancelled, activities including the Badger Run were resceduled to the Fall pow wow. Yet in October, with the virus still raging in McAllen and the rest of the state, the planned 50th year celebration continue but in a closed-to-the-public mini pow-wow with a small group of Lipan dancers. All participants followed safety guidelines with masks and social distancing.

Our four 2020 Badger runners also participated with modified runs but still celebrating the Badger and our long tradition of running. Because two of the runner lived a flight distance from the pow wow location, the Badger Run Committee did not want to risk their exposure during travel. The runners, instead, ran the planned 4-mile course individually, each using coronavirus safe standards for runners. Also, the runners were given the option to run their 4 miles in separate day segments. Lydia, the West Yellow Badger, further adapted her run to a walk when she caught Covid and was physically impacted. Although the runners were unable to video tape their runs, each runner used an app to log their runs (see below). We are very proud our our runners, serving as role models, and preserving our tradition of running through thick or thin.

"Teach Your Children to Run" and "Run Your Own Race."

Victoria Martinez-Soto Running Log

Victoria Martinez-Soto Running log

Lydia Lerma Running Log

Lydia Lerma Running log

Enrique Cuevas Running Log

Enrique Cuevas Running log

Reese Whitman Running Log

Reese Whitman Running log

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Lipan Apache Tribe
P.O. Box 5218
McAllen, Texas 78502