2014 – Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture In Native America

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IMAGE: 4-Wheel Warpony skateboarders, 2008. Courtesy Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo). Ramp It Up is a traveling exhibit organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

JUNE 28 — AUGUST 24, 2014

Related Events:
Ramp It Up Opening Reception with DJ Fraktul | Saturday, June 28
Ramp It Up Film Screening & Discussion | Monday, June 30
Skateboard Logo & Sticker Design Class | Tuesday, July 22

For many, it’s all about style and flow. For others, it’s a way of combining balance and agility, courage and creativity. For all, skateboarding is a way of life. Ramp It Up explores the indigenous stories of skateboarding.

Bunky Echo Hawk YakamaPawnee, 2009 resized 72 dpi 2x3

Bunky Echo-Hawk, Yakama/Pawnee (2009)

Radical Lessons. “Be strong. Be resilient, on your board and off. These are lessons of skate life, lessons of Native life, learned on the streets and on the rez.

One of the most popular activities on Indian reservations today, skateboarding is a true phenomenon, integrating physical exertion with design, graphic art, videography, and music. The result is a unique and dynamic culture all its own. Enthusiasm for the sport only continues to grow as American Indian communities build skateparks and host skateboard competitions that attract national attention.

Native artists and filmmakers are often inspired by their own skating experiences. More importantly, the sport provides an unfettered outlet for creativity, channeling youthful energy into something positive and meaningful. 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.

We’re stoked—Join us and the Smithsonian as we explore the vibrancy and creativity of Native Skate Culture.” —National Museum of the American Indian and S.I.T.E.S.

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LEFT TO RIGHT: Bryant Chapo (Navajo), Minneapolis, MN, 2007; Courtesy Brandon Flyg / Armondo “Mondo” Lerma (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians), All Nations Skate Jam 2008, Albuquerque, NM / Gila River Indian skaterboarder, 2009; Courtesy Gila River Indian Community Public Information Office.

Michael Perkins

Multimedia Producer and Visual Artist at the library. Painter of the Kids Library Mural and 3D scapes, Designer of the Learn and Play Bus and AdventureMobile. When not at work you can find me drawing, making stuff out of wood and getting into trouble.