Spirit Run

by Noe Alvarez

Who, What, Where?

Spirit Run is a non-fiction book written by Noe Alvarez. It takes places on The Peace and Dignity Journey throughout the Americas, a sacred Indigenous run as a way to honor ancestors, create connection amongst indigenous communities of the Americas, and as a form of healing. The run poses more than a few challenges for Noe along the way, but his persistence propels him through the United States and into Mexico. Raised in the farming town of Yakima, Washington, as the child of immigrants, Noe’s poignant and honest memoir of his youth and upbringing paints a vibrant picture of a first-generation youth unsure of where he belongs and in search of himself. Spirit run is a miraculous journey about a young mans’ leap of faith and the relationship he makes with himself and others along the way.

Principle Themes

Some common themes throughout the text were first generation identity, both as a U.S. citizen and in higher education, and working-class community and experiences in rural Washington. Noe’s parents work hard jobs that are physically demanding and don’t offer benefits or pay that their work deserves, Noe’s class identity is a central theme throughout that informs his perspective on justice and why he runs in the first place. Noe is the first in his family to attend higher education and is the first in his family to be born in the United States, these identities surface throughout the book, and could not be described in a nutshell more astutely than, “We create pacts over french fries and tacos, and stack onto our shoulders the kinds of promises that weigh on first-generation youth: to be the ones who save our families from things like poverty, deportation, and harsh labor conditions”.

Discussion Questions:

How do we see labor rights and immigrants’ rights intersect in this book?

What are some of the non-corporal challenges Noe faces along his journey?

What inspired you about this book?

More Resources:

Peace and Dignity Journeys: http://societyofnativenations.org/pdj.html

Spirit Run Website: https://www.spiritrunbook.com/


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