For Oneida First Nation’s skateboarder Adam George Saturday, June 11, is a big day.
The 29 year old has his hopes high.
If he performs well, he could represent Canada at the Olympics in the international skateboarding event.
Though he has been skateboarding for more than 16 years, the former Ontario resident is a bit nervous.
“There are some big names here. Some really great street skateboarders,” he admitted.
He is present at the 7 Generation Cup competition at Langley Events Centre with his friends, and that mattered a lot to him.
Soon he lets go of the worries and reminds himself that he is here to enjoy the sport and honour the Indigenous representations.
He even wears a T-shirt that reads ‘standing sunrise’ and has a message on the back: “Canada is an illegal occupation built on genocide.”
The skateboarder said he wanted to share the message that “though we live in this country, it is important to remember how it was built.”
“There was a lot of violence and genocide,” George added.
At the three-day Indigenous-hosted pro skateboarding event, the organizers are highlighting the cultural activities of the 198 First Nations in B.C.
The event is taking place on the unceded territories of the Kwantlen First Nation, and hence the name of the competition, 7-Generations Cup, highlighted the Kwantlen’ seven laws of life – health, happiness, humbleness, generations, generosity, forgiveness, and understanding.
For Brenda Knights, one of the directors of the Generations Skateboard Society, the event means strong Indigenous inclusion.
“Many of our communties were not able to gather for the last couple of years because of COVID. Today, we have Indigenous vendors here, pow-wow dancers, Indigenous singers, and competitors.”
Knights’ dream is to see a pro-Indigenous rider in the Olympics.
With high hopes and a calm attitude, Knights’ silently cheers for George and all other Indigenous riders participating at the competition.
Soon, George finishes his time in the rink and heads back to the stands.
“I think I did okay, but there are big names and amazing skateboarders out there,” he said. If he doesn’t win this time, George said he would try harder and come back again next year.
Alongside skateboarding, he is also pursuing his English degree at Simon Fraser University. A skateboarding lover, George even went to Japan to participate in competitions and explore more about the sport.
Though not a skateboarder, Knights, too, share the same passion for the sport.
She is at the event, not only managing artists but she is also one of the Indigenous vendors, selling skateboards, handmade baskets, and hoodies.
Her fiancee, Jason Bothe (a.k.a. Renee Renee), who was the emcee at the event, is also a skateboarding lover.
Bothe is an icon in the skateboarding world, recognized for his emceeing at various events as well as having appeared in a number of skate-oriented films and music videos.
The two wanted to offer skateboarders of all ages, genders, and backgrounds a platform to come and present their skills.
“Skateboarding is now in the Olympics, too. So the event is all about building capacity for the youth,” she concluded.
The duo also operates a charity called IndigiSkate, which offers kids camps and more.
Knights wanted to ensure strong Indigenous leadership and inclusion through the event.
The 7 Generations Cup started Friday and run through the weekend, wrapping up with closing ceremonies, a blanketing, and pow-wow dancing at 5:15 p.m. today (Sunday, June 12) at Langley Events Centre.
People can purchase tickets and find more event information at 7genskate.com.
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