Terrill Humeyestewa performs a trick on a skateboard on the Hopi reservation in northeastern Arizona. (Paul Molina via AP)

Terrill Humeyestewa performs a trick on a skateboard on the Hopi reservation in northeastern Arizona. (Paul Molina via AP)

The Hopi skate spot that Terrill and other Hopi youth worked to create (Paul Molina via AP)

The Hopi skate spot that Terrill and other Hopi youth worked to create (Paul Molina via AP)

Francisco Mata, left, Kira Nevayaktewa, Quintin Nahsonhoya, and Felicia Mata help lay a concrete foundation for a skate ramp. (AP/Felicia Fonseca)

Francisco Mata, left, Kira Nevayaktewa, Quintin Nahsonhoya, and Felicia Mata help lay a concrete foundation for a skate ramp. (AP/Felicia Fonseca)

People work on a concrete pad for a skateboarding ramp. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

People work on a concrete pad for a skateboarding ramp. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

Many Hopi people live in Arizona.

Many Hopi people live in Arizona.

Skate 264 Takes Off

Posted: November 1, 2022

They skateboarded on basketball courts, in parking lots, and through highway intersections. They set up tricks with old railroad ties and lumber. Yikes! These Hopi kids needed a skate park!

And so they made one themselves.

The Hopi are a tribe of Native Americans living mostly in Arizona. Many Hopi teenagers love to skateboard. But their home didn’t have a skate spot.

The new skateboarding park opened this spring in the Village of Tewa. It’s called Skate 264, named for the highway that runs through the 2,500-square-mile Hopi reservation. The road connects more than a dozen villages.

How did teens do such a grownup project?

First, they asked neighbors if they wanted a skate park. Most people said, “Yes!” They received a grant (a gift of money) to help pay for their project. They also sold beanie hats, stickers, and shirts at roadside stands. The kids secured a plot of land. People donated materials.

Did you know the idea for skateboarding comes from surfing? Surfing has a place in Native American culture. Skate parks have popped up in those communities in the last few years. Many of them have been begun by teens. Some host competitions. Some are small, like the one these Hopi teens started. Native Americans also have created their own brands of skateboards. These are decked out in traditional designs with modern twists.

In one of their videos, someone picks up a skateboard for the first time, learns new tricks, and is celebrated even when he doesn’t land them. The creators of the Hopi skate spot encourage boarders—even beginner boarders: Go at your own pace. Create your own style. No one is too good to fall.

Why? God calls us to have private lives—but also to work together with others for the common good.