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You’d think that the dearth of concrete surfaces on Indian reservations might be a stumbling block for skateboarders. Think again. In the long tradition of making tools and toys out of limited resources, Indian kids have created their own brand of skateboarding.  The National Museum of the American Indian is celebrating this creation with an exhibition, Ramp it Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America.

The skateboarding show, running through September 13 at the Washington D.C. museum, includes films and photographs of Indian skateboarders. The museum also hosted the 3rd annual All Nations Skate Jam over the July 4 weekend, during which Indian skateboarders from around the country demonstrated their skills on a half pipe installed in the building’s atrium.

Many in Indian country see skateboarding as a healthy alternative to drugs and alcohol.  According to Kevin Gover (Comanche/Pawnee) director of NMAI, “The museum is eager to show how Indian Country has embraced and changed skateboard culture in America. The exhibition honors tribal communities efforts to connect with young people through a positive activity like skateboarding.“

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