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Yerington teen and family to host Remembrance Run for the third and final time

A mother is styling her son’s shoulder-length hair while they both smile and stand together. They are in a bedroom, and there are plaques and piles of medals on the back wall for running. There is also an open closet behind them with even more trophies.
Gustavo Sagrero
/
KUNR Public Radio
Kutoven Stevens (right) has been running for years, and he’s standing in front of many of his medals. Next to him is his mom, Misty Stevens, who, along with others, played a big part in organizing the run.

The Yerington teen who started a run in 2021 honoring the survivors and victims of Indian boarding schools talks about its future.

On August 12, 19-year-old Ku Stevens will run 50 miles from the Yerington Paiute Tribe Park to the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum in Carson City as he has done for the past two years.

This year’s Remembrance Run will be the third and last year that Stevens and his family host the event.

Stevens’ main inspiration is his great-grandfather Frank “Togo” Quinn, who ran away from the Stewart Indian School three times as an 8-year-old.

“Frank ran away three times so we've come to the conclusion that doing it three times, and him doing it three times is a good way to end it,” Stevens said. “We just hope that the story of it kind of lives on well past after we end it.”

Stevens has hosted the run since 2021 with the goal of bringing awareness about Indian boarding schools in North America. And like past years, the two day run will end with a visit to the Stewart Indian School Cemetery, where participants will leave offerings for the victims.

The Stewart Indian School, now a cultural center and museum, was founded in 1890 and operated until the 1980’s. The intent was to erase traditional American Indian ways of life and replace them with mainstream American culture.

“People need to understand that these schools weren't voluntary. They were places designed to kill the Native American spirit within you, just kill all identity you have about you, and replace it with the modern kind of white person,” Stevens said.

Boarding schools carry traumatic and painful memories for Indigenous people, said Stacey Montooth, executive director for the Nevada Indian Commission. But the run has helped raise awareness on the issue, she said.

“We don't believe that we're really going to be able to heal from the intergenerational trauma until everyone is aware of exactly what happened. And because of Ku, thousands of more people have that awareness,” Montooth said.

Reno resident Brian Solomon will take part in this year’s run for the first time. For him, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the history of boarding schools.

“I really don't have that much knowledge of the whole story. I'm extremely excited about hearing more about what their family just had to endure and just getting more knowledge for myself and compassion for what went on,” Solomon said.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.
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