Something common in all skateboarders is a strong sense of self, of following your dreams, and being proud of who you are and where you came from. On January 30 and 31, a group of professional skaters will visit Fort St. John to share that message, with an indigenous twist.
In partnership with School District 60, the group Nations will host two day-long sessions at the Pomeroy Sport Centre, which will focus on skateboarding with the kids present, teaching them new tricks, and helping them lower the social pressures that they feel. The sessions are for Indigenous youth only.
“The purpose of Nations is to inspire and empower youth to follow in their dreams. Skateboarding has done so much for us, and we want to show the kids what’s possible,” said Rose Archie, one of the skateboarders and minds behind Nations.
Archie added that none of the five skateboarders have been to Fort St. John before and they are really looking forward to the experience.
This is the first event Nations will put on of this nature. Previously, the group had skated and travelled under the name CSKATE, but they realized they could have a powerful impact if they travelled to reserves and communities around Canada and spoke to local indigenous youth.
“My sister committed suicide last February, and that got me thinking of reaching out to communities and doing more for our people. It’s important that kids grow up to be proud of their culture and who they are,” Archie said.
Archie, who grew up near Canim Lake, B.C., said she would hitchhike up to two hours a day just to skateboard, as that was the only way she and her friends could find a place to do what they love. She had a near-death experience by hitchhiking, and wants to see skateboarding become more accessible to all Indigenous youth, so they can avoid the dangers she experienced.
There will be five members representing Nations in general. Among them are Joe Buffalo, a professional skateboarder for Colonialism Skateboards, who is a residential school survivor.
“We want to share with the youth what’s possible and achievable, through spreading our message and vibe with them,” Buffalo said.
Adam George, from Oneida and the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario, is currently in his third year studying English Literature at Simon Fraser University, and is excited about the opportunity Nations will have in Fort St. John.
“Youth living on reserves need to realize native people were put on reserves for a reason. There’s more to life than living on the reserve, and they can partake in global and social revolution (or evolution?),” George said.
Nations is based out of Vancouver.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.