Reznet News

Reporting from Native America

May 31, 2016
Latest post: March 20 5:07 pm

Native American Skateboard Culture tour kicks off this weekend

Santee Ross, University of Montana

The first and last time I was on a skateboard I landed on my butt after two seconds of attempting to skate. One minute I was on the board and the next I was staring at the sky with shoots of pain all over my body. My bruised butt and ego decided right then and there that skateboarding was not for me.

Skating is a sport that is pretty iconic for the young generation in America. Thanks to big names like Tony Hawk, flipping ollies and grinding rails is something a lot of young people do in their spare time minus my bruised butt of course.

One fact that most people don’t know is the skateboard culture has been a part of the Native American history. I would say probably even before Mr. Hawk became the skateboarding champ.

This history will be shared with Native people and non-Native people on a national tour called Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native American’s 12-city tour. This tour will feature the skateboarding culture and its history that started among the Native Hawaiian population.The tour will also feature professional Native skateboarders and artists in the skateboarding culture.

The San Diego Museum of Man will kick off the tour later this week. Even though I realize I will probably never skate for the rest of my years, I can still cheer on those individuals who possess the awesome skills that I lack. I applaud those Natives who can tear it up with board tricks or create graffiti art that rubs authority people the wrong way. I love those people.

I like to think they would have been the Russell Means or Dennis Banks individuals of our era if AIM had started up during our generation.

I didn’t even know there were professional Native skateboarders like Bryant Chapo from the Navajo Nation. If I were a little Native kid, I’d hang posters of him in my bedroom as a role model. Who knows if I had grown up during the peak of the skateboarding culture I might have gotten back on that board. Then again, maybe not.

Santee Ross (Hopi/Lakota) is from Lander, Wyo.