https://youtu.be/gA_e9zEGAPY There's a lot of struggles on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It’s a place with minimal job opportunity, brutal winters, and growing epidemics of both youth suicide and alcoholism. However the Sioux people are more than aware of the place's powerful past and are resilient in trying to preserve their history and traditions.
Despite immense adversity, the Pine Ridge Reservation has found community and inspiration in skateboarding. In what started out as a handful of kids pushing around the desolate reservation casually has become a hundred skater population and a catalyst for a community to awake and support a young generation of the Sioux tribe. Pine Ridge has implemented a project with Stronghold Society and Grindline Skate Parks to build skateparks as part of an ongoing effort to support skateboarding in under served communities around the world.
Stronghold Society is a non-profit organization created by Walt Pourier (Oglala Lakota) empowers youths of Native and non-Native communities with skateboarding and other athletic activities. "We want to see a change on this reservation. We want to see people living again. And we're doing it through skateboarding." The youth of Pine Ridge go through a lot of things on a daily basis - feeling displaced, having little to nothing, trying to survive in a broken home - so fact that have this activity and lifestyle that's theirs - skateboarding - they've begun to take ownership of it, and it's begun to plant seeds for something bigger for each of them.
For the Lakota people that inhabit Pine Ridge Reservation, skateboarding saves lives. In Greg Hunt's short documentary, Skateboarding in Pine Ridge, we encounter portraits of a few local skaters as they illustrate how an entire community has begun to grow closer around skateboarding. Joey Pepper, Josh Matthews, Marius Syvanen, and Pat Moran hang out with the kids of Pine Ridge and skate the new parks, in this encouraging and pertinent doc.
Watch the full documentary above.