For over a decade the Elemental Awareness foundation has been traveling across the nation visiting Indian reservations to empower their skate scenes and give away massive amounts of product. This year we visited the Lakota reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The road was long, cold, and our van broke down on our way there. Luckily, we (somehow) borrowed a big rig truck from a diesel repair shop in Nebraska, crammed all of our stuff into it, learned how to drive it, and made it to our events.
The reservations of our nation are notorious for their poverty, substance abuse, and high teen suicide rate. What you don't always hear about are all of the wonderful things that coexist with the bad: the smiles, the high fives, the communities, the ceremonies, the kickflips, and the grinds. Those are the things we saw and focused on during our visit. In the words of the great Lakota Chief, Sitting Bull, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”
We had a wonderful experience sharing skateboarding with the children of the reservation, and cannot wait to visit again. Special thanks to Walt from the Stronghold Society and Dana, David and Sky Anselmo for helping make this trip possible.