This analysis demonstrates the complex ways that Native womxn runners mobilize the rhetoric they create around and through their running activity to challenge settler colonial, heteropatriarchal ideologies in favor of Indigenous lifeways; build upon cultural practices that include running and a wider spectrum of gender roles to enact more inclusive, modern Native identities; and lead intersectional advocacy efforts that center Native communities. Utilizing a Cultural Rhetorics, Indigenous Feminist, and Decolonial framework that recognizes Native womxn as experts in their own lived experiences, I have gathered Native womxn runners' counternarratives from virtual spaces/social media to learn from their cultural, rhetorical (oral, written, digital, visual, embodied, and kinesthetic) practices via a process I call story gathering. Because I am non-Native, I sought to center Indigenous womxn's voices by consulting Native womxn runners' Instagram accounts or organizational websites; print and web-based articles that either quote or were written by these runners; and podcasts, televised interviews, or recorded workshops/panels for which they served as guests. As these sources highlight, Native womxn runners create their own coalitional counterpublics that continually enact cultural knowledge in context via discursive strategies that recognize Indigenous culture as diverse, inclusive, modern, living, vibrant, and embodied. As such, the runners' social media presence and on/offline activism serve as rhetorical, cultural, and political acts. That is, they mobilize multiple modalities and rhetorics in culturally specific ways that have the potential to lead the mainstream (white) running industry toward greater inclusion and effect changes on a larger scale. I argue for a similar shift within Rhetoric and Composition, which still regards work by womxn of color as niche scholarship. To remedy this, the field must acknowledge Native womxn as not just knowledge keepers, but knowledge makers who should be better recognized and valued within our discipline regardless of their relation to the academy.


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Graduation Date





Arellano, Sonia


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities


Writing and Rhetoric

Degree Program

English; Rhetoric and Composition Track




CFE0009568; DP0027581





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)