'Ramp It Up' celebrates Indian skate culture in Norman

The influence of skateboarding on Indian and Native Hawaiian cultures is celebrated in a new exhibition at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: February 15, 2014
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An opening reception for the “Ramp It Up” exhibit at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History had to be postponed because of bad weather, but that didn't stop students from the Riverside Indian School from making a field trip to see it.

The exhibit opened Feb. 8 and will run through June 15. The opening reception was postponed until April 5.

The exhibit celebrates the vibrancy and creativity of the skate culture on American Indian reservations and in Native Hawaiian communities.

“Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America” is a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, together with the National Museum of the American Indian.

Among the first visitors to the exhibit on opening day were students from the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko who are skateboard enthusiasts.

Skateboarding has been one of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, inspiring and influencing American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities since the 1960s.

Curator Betsy Gordon said Indian skaters and entrepreneurs have combined core lessons learned from the sport such as strength, balance and tenacity with traditional tribal iconography and contemporary art to engage Indian youths in their history and culture.

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by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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