Use of skateboards, street art in Indigenous activism


Outside of San Carlos, Miles’ work can be found in the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, Eiteljorg Museum in Indiana, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Indigenous Arts in New Mexico and National Museum of the American Indians, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution group of museums and research centers in Washington DC, to name a few. His murals can be seen in different parts of the United States and his paintings are in private collections around the world.

“I want people to understand the power and the struggle, the joy and the pain and the learning and the love that we all make as we reflect more on the history around us as it relates to Native Americans in Arizona and in this country, ”says Miles.

One of Miles’ biggest passionate projects is his business, Apache Skateboards. After Miles painted a bridge for his son – who then skated around San Carlos with it – Douglas Miles Jr. came home and told his dad everyone wanted one.

Miles formed a team now known as the Apache Skate Team, and Apache Skateboards was officially launched in 2002. The group performs demonstrations, holds competitions, and holds art exhibitions across the country, but mostly in the southwestern reserves.

“I always felt inspired every time I traveled with the Apache Skate team to do a demo,” said Miles. “It was a community development process for the Aboriginal youth that they accomplished by skateboarding when they traveled. I know Apache Skateboards, as a long-standing Indigenous brand, has inspired many Indigenous artists and brand owners that we see today.

Miles recalls a case where a 16-year-old, who later became a great graphic designer and went to culinary school, said he was proud to see there was an Apache Skateboard business and that he “finally felt like he was really part of something.”

On Tuesday, October 19, starting at 10 a.m., those on the Tempe campus can go up to the fourth floor of Lattie F. Coor Hall, and those online can watch a livestream while Miles paints a large piece of art in the lobby.

This event will be on Open day hosted by SHPRS and is part of the first Humanities week which will take place from October 18 to 22.

“We are delighted and honored to welcome Douglas Miles as the first-ever Distinguished Artist-in-Residence of the SHPRS,” said the Director of the SHPRS. Richard amesbury. “World-renowned muralist, filmmaker and founder of Apache Skateboards, his work is both a celebration of the Indigenous experience and a vehement critique of the violence of coloniality. “

As part of Miles’ visit to the SHPRS open house, one of his skateboard decks will be distributed in a student raffle. Students can also watch the 2019 documentary “The Mystery of Now,” which features Miles and Apache Skateboards.

SHPRS will host many other events during the remainder of Humanities Week to which the ASU community is invited.

Top photo: Apache artist Douglas Miles is working on one of his murals in San Carlos, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Richard Amesbury


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