“The confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek was historically a gathering spot for Native people, used for trade and for bringing the nations together,” says Walt Pourier, founder of the Stronghold Society and promoter of the fifth annualONE Gathering Skate for Life
event at the Denver Skatepark. “We just happen to have a world-class skate park now, sitting right there at 20th and Little Raven, which is a perfect coincidence.”
Pourier, a Denver-based Oglala Lakota artist and lifelong skateboarder, started the Stronghold Society as a “Live Life Call to Action” campaign in response to a suicide epidemic at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. He spent his early childhood there before his family moved to California, where he discovered the life-affirming magic of skateboarding, and has since made it his life’s work to bring skateboarding back to his people. Building skate parks at Pine Ridge and other reservations has been a key project; inviting Native youth from across the country to skate with and compete against Colorado skaters has been another.
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Pourier will open the festivities at 9 a.m. with a traditional prayer song and ceremonial sage-burning to bless the sacred ground for the shredding to come in the Andy Kessler Memorial bowl competition and other events for skaters — and spectators — of all ages. Music and vendors are also part of this drug- and alcohol-free event. For more information, visit strongholdsociety.org.
Sat., July 12, 9 a.m., 2014