By Karen Jones
The exhibition, which runs through June 27, features a chronology of the sport, photographs, videos of skaters doing their tricks and personally decorated boards from Native American skaters and skateboard companies like Wounded Knee Skateboards, Native Skates and 4wheelwarpony, owned by the filmmaker Dustinn Craig, a White Mountain Apache. A film, also called “4wheelwarpony,” by Mr. Craig about White Mountain Apache skateboarders helped inspire “Ramp It Up,” said Ms. Gordon. “I was struck by the metaphor that the skateboard has replaced the pony on reservation life.”
So the metaphor really should be "skateboards replace the ponies boys would ride when they grew up to be men in Plains tribes."
In any case, if skateboarding can draw troubled Native youth into a productive activity, or at least a harmless pastime, it's good. Let's encourage these kids to do whatever excites them, whether it's skateboarding, rapping, filmmaking, pony-riding, or chess-playing. <g>
For more on the subject, see From Skatepark to Museum Exhibit, Ramp It Up Video, and Skateboarders at the NMAI.