How the Teenagers Brought a Skate Park to Their Native American Reservation

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skate park was a community effort.”/>
The skate park was a community effort. Deidra Honyumptewa

The village of Tewa, Arizona has recently stepped up its skating scene.

Kids living on the Hopi reservation can ride a new halfpipe in the city’s first-ever skatepark thanks to a team of five teenagers known as Skate264.

“There wasn’t really a place to skate here. Most of the surroundings are just dirt and rocks,” said Quintin Nahsonhoya, one of the skate collective’s co-leaders.

The main goal of the group was to create a safe space to skate. Prior to the park, Quintin said he and his friends would skate on gravel paths and Highway 264, which is the main highway through the Hopi Reservation.

“We’ve seen a whole bunch of skaters skating on these little makeshift parks on basketball courts or on the road or in hospitals or schools — anywhere there’s concrete, pretty much,” Quintin said. . “So we thought it would be a good idea to bring a skatepark to Hopi just because we didn’t want anyone getting hurt or having trouble getting to places they shouldn’t be, trying to skate. .”

Skate264 started two years ago when 17-year-old Quintin was on a trip through Navajo country and noticed a stark difference between there and his hometown.

“There are also tribes around Phoenix that have really good parks,” he said. “Every time I went to this part of the country I saw their skate parks and then I came back to my stash and there was nothing here. I thought that was a little unfair.”

Fundraisers, sponsorships and merchandise sales help fund the park.
Fundraisers, sponsorships and merchandise sales help fund the park. Deidra Honyumptewa

The Hopi community was immediately on board and rallied around the teenagers.

Two years later, and with the help of fundraisers, sponsorships and merchandise sales, they were finally able to build the park – complete with a ledge, ramps and a manual mat.

Tewa wants to keep expanding the park, according to Deidra Honyumptewa, chairwoman of the village board. The skate park currently sits next to a softball field, but they plan to add lights and a basketball court.

Quintin said he was happy to have been able to spread positive change and help change negative stereotypes about skaters.

“Skateboarders aren’t like the way they’re seen in movies, like punks or like people who just want to get in trouble,” he said. “It’s just a hobby that we have…and the community understands that.”

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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