No “White Savior” Complex: Ryan Sheckler Supports Native Americans
Say what you will about the multi-million dollar skate mogul, but Ryan Sheckler lives a pretty remarkable life. And no, it isn’t all based on the material fruits of his skateboarding kingdom – comprised of lucrative opportunities like energy drink deals, clothing sponsors, and even a 15+ year journey with his shoe sponsor. It’s also based on following lead from legends and OG mentors Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, who’ve more than likely inspired Sheckler to also pursue his own journey into skateboard philanthropy.
One of the more recent causes being the plight of the S’klallam tribe of Washington State. Though not necessarily common knowledge, it should be noted that US Native American reservations and many Native American communities alike are ground zero for some of the highest rates in health-related problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and alcoholism. That being said, last week the Ryan Sheckler Foundation, in partnership with the S’klallam tribal council, unveiled the first ever “Be The Change” project feat, a brand-new skatepark for the community. Ryan and residents were present for the christening and sacred blessing of the new hub, complete with indigenous art from the local youth and planning support from local volunteers.
Now, while Sheckler’s organization and generosity isn’t the first to embrace skateboarding as a conduit for change in the Native American communities (see All Nations Jam, and Apache Skateboards), it should be noted that it is definitely a step in the right direction towards making the mainstream skateboard community more accountable for social change.
Sorry, no room for “white savior” complex here, just an extremely blessed and talented mogul/philanthropist that probably owes as much of his own prosperity to the power of skateboarding, as history owes to many of the indigenous people of this planet.
Check out the video up top for a recap of unveiling day, complete with shredding, interviews with locals, and a ceremonial feast. Much respect Ryan!