Jordan Daniel

Jordan Daniel

Founder, Rising Hearts


Winter 2021

I am an organizer. I am a voice. I am a connector - working to uplift and center Indigenous, Black, and Brown voices within our communities and spaces to demand justice, visibility, and respect as it intersects across all climate - racial - social - and economic justice movements. Now I am continuing this heart work on occupied Tongva Lands / Los Angeles, expanding my circle, meeting more amazing and inspiring folx, helping to contribute to the collective expansion of our movements, demanding justice, respect, visibility, and equality.

Tell us: what excites you about your work?

Rising Hearts goal over the next few years will be to continue to grow the organization by receiving funding to shift my personal time and focus more towards our work. Currently, we are not a consistently funded organization. I devote and donate my time to my advocacy and RH throughout the week, after business hours and on the weekends.

What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

The Indigenous Wellness through Movement programs help connect with our bodies and learn what decolonizing wellness means and looks like, while holding space to prioritize our self-care (especially for those in the advocacy movement spaces). Together with friends and allies in the wellness community, we share our voices and wellness practices. We hope to further continue building community and allyship. The Running with Purpose collective is focused on social change and how we use running as a platform for advocacy and awareness.

Who do you dedicate your work to?

The systemic oppression seen in Indigenous, Black, People of Color and marginalized communities impacts their access wellness programs, support and platforms. Rising Hearts’ goal is to create a collective of athlete advocates, advocates, and allies.

“It all begins with an idea. An idea to help make the world a better place and to bring in people, call in allies - to support Indigenous people.”

Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading? We are really excited to learn this about you!

Our younger generations that I see on social media and across the lands putting in the heart work to make their voices heard and making an impact inspire me everyday. I learn from them, from our elders, from frontline voices, and from the community that Rising Hearts and myself are cultivating - so many new experiences and perspectives that help shape the work for a better path forward. To keep up with as much new knowledge as possible, books I am reading or have read recently are Caste, Minor Feelings, Policing Indigenous Movements, The Red Deal and now, Fresh Banana Leaves.

How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

It all begins with an idea. An idea to help make the world a better place and to bring in people, call in allies - to support Indigenous people. And now this idea has expanded and grown to support beyond Indigenous initiatives and is in a collaborative place to promote the intersectionality of our movements and communities impacted by white supremacy, racism and systemic oppression.

What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?

Every time I came back to my homelands in the summers during school, I saw the racism in South Dakota, I saw the health disparities my relatives were experiencing, and other racial, social, and economic problems. Despite having this perspective, I saw the beauty of my relatives, of the community, and the resilience that is present not only here with my relatives but as I’ve grown up and visited other Nations - that resilience exists in all our communities. That is what I focused on and it gave me hope for a better future that includes Indigenous folx.

What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

I was born in South Dakota and raised with my tiospaye (my family) in Lower Brule and Chamberlain, SD. I was surrounded by my family, my culture, and ceremonies. When I was 9, I moved to Maine, where I experienced racism for the first time and struggled with my Indigeneity, as a Lakota woman and as a woman of color in a place that did not have diversity or the culture I was raised in. Feeling like I was walking in two worlds, I wanted to fit in, not stick out, and was ashamed of my brown skin. That’s where running showed me, it was about how you show up to the start line and finish - not about the color of your skin. It was a community I felt accepted in. As a fourth generation runner, it connected me to my family but was also my place to escape to and disconnect from Jordan, the Lakota and brown skinned girl. It wasn’t until college that I finally loved me, my brown skin and who I was as a Lakota winyan (woman).

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