ONE Gathering – Skate For Life
A skateboarding competition created to unite the youth of the Denver community with the Native American youth of Colorado and surrounding states. It is a means of outreach to educate local communities of the social and health challenges Native American youth face today. The competition takes place at the Downtown Denver Skatepark located near the South Platte River – an historical gathering place for many Native American Tribes. Our overall goal for the ONE Gathering – Skate For Life is to promote inclusiveness and a positive impact on youth of all races by incorporating artistic achievement, social change, innovation, education, and healthy way of life outlooks. This is a drug and alcohol free event with skate competition, entertainment stage, vendors, youth outreach nonprofits, etc.
Creating skateparks in Native American communities through resources collected and/or developed by Stronghold Society. Skateboarding has many benefits: it builds self-confidence and self-esteem; encourages individuality and creativity; teaches social skills and respect for others; and brings communities together. It also promotes good health as it builds strength, balance and coordination as well as cardiovascular improvement. We have found that these benefits are extremely valuable to the Native youth. The first WK4-Directions Skatepark was completed in the town of Pine Ridge, SD with major support from Jeff Ament, Vitalogy Foundation, Pearl Jam/Ten Club, the Tony Hawk Foundation, and VANs Off The Wall. This has become a model we use for future skateparks in other Native Communities.
Youth Art Gatherings
Our new program we created for local Native youth. Exposing youth to art and opportunities for creativity help youth to think with an open mind, build confidence, express feelings, develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as perseverance. Research confirms the many benefits of creativity and the ways in which it contributes to sustained mental health, goal-setting, and goal attainment. Our first Stronghold Society Art Gathering held at the McNichol’s Building in Denver and was a great success. About twelve students learned the basics to storytelling and comic book illustration in this unique and fun workshop taught by Kristina Bad Hand. We hope to have more Art Gatherings in the near future as our funding increases. These gatherings will focus on the arts, both traditional and contemporary.
Stronghold Society staff, board, and youth mentors participate in events and exhibitions to promote a healthy life in mind, body and spirit through the arts and skateboarding. They also give talks to schools and conferences about Native philosophy through the new creative means of today that the youth of this generation can relate to. Through this outreach, we share our LIVE LIFE MOVEMENT message to hundreds of youth.
Kimimila Gathering “Age of the Daughters”
A gathering to empower young native and non-native girls to live life at its grandest! Activities include; sports, arts and crafts, writing, games, guest speakers, movies, and traditional values. Our goal is to host four gatherings a year, both in the Denver community and surrounding reservations. To date we have hosted four successful gatherings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Lonnie Pourier is our Kimimila Gathering Director. If you are interested in sponsoring these events, please contact us.
Life’s Dance – A Live Life Call To Action print and media campaign. Purpose – to inspire to live. A poster encouraging “Dancing Life’s Dance to its fullest each and everyday.” The print campaign will be distributed for free to Native schools, health service organizations, suicide prevention groups, youth outreach groups, and etc. Plans to develop into radio spots supported by Irene Bedard, Moses Brings Plenty, and Robert Mirabal.
Skateboarding Saves Lives – A Live Life Call To Action print campaign. Purpose – to encourage Native American youth to find hope and ambition to live a healthy life in mind, body and spirit and to promote the building of major WK4-Directions Skateparks in Indian communities.