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Skateboarding

Madars Apse rolls on to the reservation to meet the Apache Skateboards crew

Apache Skateboards is a movement fusing historic Native American culture with contemporary skateboarding aesthetics and bringing new energies to both worlds. Skate Tales joins them to learn more.
Written by Niall Neeson
2 min readPublished on
The long road into the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona is a great place to learn stories. Now, with that said, skateboarding may not have rules, but it undeniably has codes. It's been known to lean into orthodoxies of thought, speech and dress and describe all those things to itself as taste.
Skate Tales set out to find the stories from within the wider skateboarding world beyond the magazine heroes and famous faces that you see everywhere else – to give some parity of voice to those from outside the sport's mainstream. In that regard, the Apache Skateboards story represents one of the most interesting that Madars Apse has covered to date.
We're making culture and it's new culture. It’s not like regular mainstream skateboarding culture, either – it's different. We do what we want here; we do it the way we want to do it
Doug Miles Sr
I think we, as an indigenous people, are very creative – it's in our blood. What we're doing is just a modern way of that, whether it's videography, graffiti…it's just another way for us to express our creativity besides skating
Reuben Ringlero
Let us tell you a bit about them, on this dusty road we're travelling into the San Carlos Apache Reservation. There are two significant Doug's in the Apache Skateboards story. Douglas Miles Jr is one of the scions of a new wave of indigenous skaters fusing their roots in Native American culture with the modern movement of skateboarding. Born and raised in Arizona's San Carlos Apache Reservation, he was introduced to skateboarding by his father, the acclaimed fine artist Douglas Miles Sr.
Doug Sr had started painting on skateboards as a medium and, given the groundswell of interest this created, he founded Apache Skateboards – a brand in which the Apache community could recognise a connection to their own culture within this relatively new form of expression.
What you are seeing is this history of Apache people played out in a modern context
Doug Miles Sr
Native Americans have proven incredibly resourceful in developing and nurturing new iterations of their ancient culture: Doug Jr himself spent his formative skating years touring other indigenous reservations and teaching Native American youngsters how they could become drawn into skateboarding without losing sight of their own heritage.
Apache Skateboards re-introduced a lot of our history into the hands of – and put it in front of the faces of – younger kids
Doug Miles Jr
Apse went to meet the skaters expressing roots through their brand, building scenes and skating hard as they garner ever-greater awareness of their movement within wider skate culture. This Skate Tales is dedicated to the skateboarding visionaries: sometimes, when you can't find space for your own chapter, you have to re-write the book.
Click the player at the top of this story to join Madars Apse as he learns the story of Apache Skateboards and skates an unbelievable Arizona dam spot in this superb episode of Skate Tales.