John Aguilar sent in some photos of a recently completed (OK, February of 2016) Debra Barto Memorial Skatepark, located on the Tulalip Reservation, near Everett, Washington. It is named in honor of the woman in the tribe who pushed hard for building it. John said this Grindline park is a good time as long as it’s not being overrun by scooter and BMX kids. Yes, that bottom feature is supposed to look like a canoe.
Evergreen Skateparks is working on a park in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet reservation. The project is being sponsored by Jeff Ament. The park (Big o capsule replica included) is on track to be finished in mid to late October. Meanwhile, Evergreen is breaking ground on a skatespot near the Cully neighborhood in NE Portland on September 15th.
In a super transparent attempt to bolster public support for their name in the face of public opinion (at least in the rest of the nation) that is turning against them, the Washington Redskins offered to write a blank check for a skatepark the Fort Yuma Quechan (Kwatsan) Tribe had been planning. They even brought a “skatepark designer” with them to present a design that was festooned in red and gold. Tribal officials had little trouble sussing out the ulterior motives, and quickly turned them down. You can read the press release from Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. I have to wonder which destible “skatepark designer” went along with this embarrassing scheme. Definitely not a “credit to his race.” Was it a real design/build firm? Come on S&A community, let’s uncover this.
In the meantime, enjoy this gratuitous link to Wounded Knee Skateboards.
Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America opened in San Diego on April 28th at the Museum of Man. The show runs through September 9, 2012. It’s on tour for two years, maybe coming to a town near you. If not, there are open slots available. Hassle a museum or gallery in your neighborhood to bring it home.
The Smithsonian Channel will air a program called Skateboard Nation starting on May 5th:
Explore the underground movement that’s helping Native American youth throughout the U.S. soar above life’s challenges, one half-pipe at a time. Skateboarding is increasingly popular on Indian reservations, cultivating athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and mentors. From the streets of Albuquerque to New York City, from Washington, D.C. to Pine Ridge, SD, the sport is fueling a new form of self-expression and pride.
– Hey Betsy!
This is from a February, 1980 National Geographic article on the Apache Indian Reserve. Genius. Simple, yet effective. Pure. Enlarge-o-rama.
– Thanks to Ryan Mann for the tip.
I’ve been staying at a ranch out in the middle of nowhere, Montana. One of the staff heard me mention wanting to travel into Missoula to check out the skatepark. Turns out I could cut my drive time down from one hour to 15 minutes. The little town of St Ignatius, population 811, has a skatepark. St Ignatius is near the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in fact Native Americans made up approximately 40% of the population in the last census. St Ignatius received a Tony Hawk Foundation grant in 2006. That grant helped fund phase 1 of the park. Phase 2 of the park was completed by Dreamland on July 8th.
Jim Murphy has organized a Native Skate Jam on a six-foot high half pipe at the the Smithsonian Institution (Potomac Atrium National Museum of the American Indian). The session is on Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5 at 12 and 2 p.m. daily. The skate jam is in support of “Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America” that is open through Sept. 13, 2009. Speaking of Ramp it Up, Betsy Gordon sent in some snaps from the exhibit.
“Ramp it Up” will be exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian ( On the National Mall, Washington, DC) from June 12, 2009–September 13, 2009
Ramp it Up celebrates the vibrancy, creativity, and controversy of American Indian skate culture. Skateboarding combines demanding physical exertion with design, graphic art, filmmaking, and music to produce a unique and dynamic culture. One of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, skateboarding has inspired American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities to host skateboard competitions and build skate parks to encourage their youth. Native entrepreneurs own skateboard companies and sponsor community-based skate teams. Native artists and filmmakers, inspired by their skating experiences, credit the sport with teaching them a successful work ethic. The exhibition features rare and archival photographs and film of Native skaters as well as skatedecks from Native companies and contemporary artists.
This is actually the first ever Smithsonian exhibiton on skateboarding. Apparently they are just now recognizong the cultural significance of Back to the Future. You can read the entire press release here.
UPDATE: added new poster images for the show.