Ryan Dreveskracht: Skateboarding offers hope to Native youth

Attorney Ryan Dreveskracht discusses why skateboarding is so popular among youth in Indian Country:
Skateboarding provides Native youth with freedom — the freedom to take control of their lives, their bodies, the world around them, and their futures.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives are twice as likely to be diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Native kids that skateboard are much less likely to suffer complications from diabetes, and are 48 percent more likely to stay healthy as an adult (compared to 20-percent for kids who play organized sports).

Native American families are 50 percent more likely to endure domestic violence. Skateparks provide a safe haven for Native kids, creating opportunity for social interaction with other youth, which helps these kids develop trusting and cohesive relationships that many of them just cannot receive at home.

Native Americans have one of the highest dropout rates in the Nation. Skateboarding gives an outlet for hyperactive children who have trouble learning, and has been shown to improve performance in the classroom.

Young Native Americans are more than three times more likely to commit suicide — up to ten times on some reservations. Skateboarding creates a supportive environment for these at-risk youth. You don’t have to be a cool kid. You can’t get cut from a team. You can show up with clothes that don’t fit you, and nobody cares. You can be a weirdo — in fact, it’s encouraged. Kids that skateboard generally have less anxiety, less depression, less feelings of hopelessness, and more satisfaction with life.

Get the Story:
Ryan Dreveskracht: Native Youth to Rise Up, One Skatepark at a Time (Indian Country Today 5/2)

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