N. Scott Momaday, In Memoriam

Oren Lyons poses with N. Scott Momaday at Wings’ 25th anniversary celebration hosted at former Board Member Letitia Chambers’ home in 2013

On August 21, 2008, Wings celebrated the organization’s 20th anniversary at Hotel Santa Fe. Throughout the morning, former Board Members, program participants and community members offered heartfelt stories about the ways the organization positively impacted their lives. Joy Harjo recited poetry and performed on her saxophone! But the highlight of the day was the presentation of a poem dedicated to Wings runners written by N. Scott Momaday. His daughter, Jill Momaday, read “A Prayer For Those Who Run” with such reverence and grace that there was barely a dry eye in the crowd when she went silent.

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our great literary champion on January 24, 2024. Scott attended the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration to read his poem once again in 2013. And in 2018, in celebration of Wings’ 30th anniversary, Scott spoke on our “Value Change For Suvival” panel alongside Oren Lyons, Billy Mills, Roxanne Swentzell, and Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk.

A plaque bearing Scott’s poem is prominently featured in the Wings headquarters. Please come visit us anytime to admire it yourself! But in the meantime, here’s the poem in digital format. Enjoy! Rest in Power Scott…

A Prayer For Those Who Run

You are the bearers of ancient light,
You are the dancing of the sun's fire
On the surfaces of running water.
You are the motion of the wind,
You are the clattering of the rain,
And the pulsing of the stars.

Run that the mountain spirits may follow you.
Run that the desert spirits may follow you.
Run that the ancestors hear your approach.
Run that the dreams may echo your steps.
Run that the earth may shake with your being.
Run for the sacred sake of running.

May you strike sound upon the clouds,
And reverberation on the canyon walls.
May your running be proof of holy being,
May you carry our dreams on your way,
And may you bless your going.

We run with you in our hearts,
We run with you in our prayer.
Forever we run with you.
We run with you,
We run with you,
We run with you.
Posted in Announcements / Miscellaneous Postings