On Saturday, October 15th, Conscious Alliance was honored to help sponsor the opening of the Wounded Knee 4-Directions Skatepark on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Conscious Alliance was present for the celebration, participating in the event as well as delivering nutritious meal boxes to families in need on the reservation.
The skatepark is the brainchild of Walt Pourier, member of the Conscious Alliance Advisory Board and head of the Stronghold Society, a nonprofit organization based out of Colorado dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements. Walt had grown up skating on the reservation and had always wanted to see the skate culture grow in the community. The skatepark was named the Wounded Knee Four Directions Toby Eagle Bull Memorial Skate Park in the memory of Toby Eagle Bull, a young skater who passed away on the reservation in 2002. Toby’s entire family was present and honored all the sponsors and volunteers for helping the community realize something that Toby had dreamt of years ago.
Together with the Tony Hawk Foundation, Grindline, Vans, and Jeff Ament (bass guitarist of Pearl Jam), the Stronghold Society was able to raise over $55,000 to fund the construction of the skatepark, which features three bowls and several jumps. The support was overwhelming as volunteers from Grindline—a multi-talented team of skatepark designers, concert craftsmen, construction managers, and professional skateboards—camped out at the park, working around the clock to make sure it was ready for the opening. Through their teamwork and cooperation, the sponsors and volunteers constructed a professional-grade skatepark in celebration of the community’s youth.
Local hip-hop groups, a spoken word artist, and several other acts performed throughout the day, many of them referencing life on the reservation as well as the history of injustice to the Native American population. Jeff Ament and a few professional skaters were present all day coaching the young skaters.
The park was created in the spirit of providing a healthy and positive outlet for the community’s youth population, as Jeff Ament was quoted, “Skating saves lives.” The teenage suicide rate on the reservation is 150% higher than the national average, presenting the need for a positive, physical outlet for youth in the Pine Ridge community. The sense of togetherness at the opening was strong, giving the skatepark a positive and inspiring beginning. We were privileged to be present at such an amazing event and are excited to continued participation in youth outreach projects in Pine Ridge and other communities.
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