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Skateboarding News

Friday, September 7, 2012

Native American skate culture

From left to right, Armonyo Hume, Jess Michael Smith, Aloysius Henry, Ronnie Altaha
and Lee Nash. The team was founded by award-winning filmmaker Dustinn Craig
(White Mountain Apache/Navajo), who got his start making skateboarding videos in Arizona.
Here on the west coast, skateboarding has gone from a counterculture to a subculture, and finally to a five billion dollar industry that influences anything from leftist politics to high fashion. While most people understandably think of surfing when they hear San Diego, the roots of skateboarding run deeper here than one might expect.

The Museum of Man, a rising star at Balboa Park, has partnered with the Smithsonian Institute to bring us a taste of what was once known as "sidewalk surfing." The exhibit - a real half pipe mini ramp isn't just for show; local boarders are invited to join in the public skate sessions while learning a few things about the sport's Native American-infused traditions.
The event started in April and runs through Sept. 9 with the public skate days occurring weekly. Participants younger than 18 years oldmust bring a parent or legal guardian. The ramp can accommodate up to 15 riders at any one time, so peak hour skate sessions are a real spectacle
Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo)

to behold.

What began as a modification of the Hawaiian surfboard made its way across the Pacific and inspired Native American Indians to take it to the next level. Today, skateboarding is one of the most popular recreational activities on Indian reservations.
This sentiment is encapsulated perfectly by the official Museum of Man website: "The lessons learned in a skatepark speak to the inner strength of each skater and are a metaphor for the Native experience: When you fall, get up and try again. Push yourself higher and faster. Never give up."

Armondo “Mondo” Lerma (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians), All Nations Skate Jam 2008, Albuquerque, N.M.
Mondo competes in the Ages 6-12 Division at the All Nations Skate Jam. Mondo, and his brother Augustin (“Augie”),
are making their mark in the world of amateur skateboarding competitions. They are backed by several corporate sponsors
 as well as having support from their tribe, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs, Calif.
Courtesy Rudy Burciaga

Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America reveals the rich world of skateboarding and celebrates the vibrancy, creativity, and history of Native American skateboarding culture. Showing for the first time outside of the Smithsonian, this new traveling exhibition features rare images, video of Native American skaters, and over twenty skate decks created by Native artists.

Highlights include a never-before-seen 1969 image taken by skateboarding icon Craig R. Stecyk III of a skate deck depicting traditional Native imagery, as well as 1973 home-movie footage of Zephyr surf team members Ricky and Jimmy Tavarez (Gabrielino-Tongva tribe). The exhibition features the work of visual artists Bunky Echo-Hawk (Yakama / Pawnee), Joe Yazzie (Navajo), Traci Rabbit (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) and Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache / Navajo) and highlights young Native skaters such as Bryant Chapo (Navajo) and Augustin and Armondo Lerma (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians).

Read more on The Vista

Additional reading:
- Dustinn Craig
- Dustinn Craig

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Friday, September 07, 2012 


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