“I took my family to the skate park”

My good friend Andrew Iron Shell, wrote a very moving and powerful story from one parents perspective on the WK4-Directions TEB Skatepark built on the Pine Ridge Lakota Country Reservation via the Stronghold Society… please read it through, very moving and speaks to the core of our outreach.

“I took my family to the skate park”
– by Andrew Catt-Iron Shell

I took my family to the skate park in Pine Ridge. A place I knew of but had never went. In a town where basketball is king, the court was empty. It was more than the chill of a fall day on the Oglala Nation that kept the rim on the backboard cold. The ballers had found another escape.

The skate park that almost didn’t get built, that is really only half done is a dream already fulfilled in those that utilize it. It was empowering for me as a father of six, as a community member who cares, as a make shift photographer with more film than income to hear almost in whispers the conversation of empowerment around me. Sound bites in the wind of the greatest get away ever. How many were there to experience this healthy refuge away from a home where for all the bad reasons we know, they may not want to be home? They treated each other as family as they skate. Respectful of each other by a bond made through the board they ride. They were not shy to help each other should they fall. I had a good day among them, reminded how human beings should be.

I seen a picture painted different than what other brush strokes have created. Too many times these youth painted invisible by the back drop of White Clay, Nebraska just two miles away. The media says misery is where the ratings are. Reporters have to feed their own families, empower their own lives. How many papers can it sell. How many pages in a magazine? The power of life nurtured by this tiny stretch of cement bowls, obstacles to overcome for the surfers of the prairie carry more insight into the real power of our community than documenting the end of the trail known world wide as White Clay. A seed is buried in this skate park, it blooms everyday beyond the lens of what any camera can see. The root of our future is not in White Clay Nebraska as too many think it to be.

My children went to bed tired and smiling that night. Unaware of the gifts given me that day. Unaware of the shame the media should carry for choosing the value of misery over the power found by our youth. My payday at the end of this night, knowing that our skate park has just as much to offer tomorrow for those who know they can afford to dream.


Wopila Tanka Andrew, great story. The Stronghold Society appreciates all you do for native country…. you captured the moment to what becomes a series of moments… together we are creating a positive movement.

WE will be launching a KICKSTARTER Campaign very soon to gain support on finishing the PIne Ridge  WK4-Directions TEB Skatepark… details to come. Then we move onwards and begin more Skatepark projects via our ROCKERZ 4REZskateparks program.

Please share and help us to gain more support for our LIVE LIFE Call To Actions Campaigns. Click the button and DONATE TODAY. wopila tanka.
thank you.

Walt Pourier
Executive Director


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