Skiing, Basketball, Jackie Robinson discussed on Out of Bounds Podcast
That don't exist anymore. So there's one side of it that's like, yeah, we have to show people that native folks are still around and we do even ski. And then the other flip side of it is like, we have to show native folks that get like we can be in this place. And this is something we can do and typically for native folks like I think the sports that we're shown in the most are like running in basketball and because of that, those are huge in our cultures. Nowadays, you know, there's a lot of pow wows that have three on three basketball tournament. And there's all sorts of times that they'll be a cause in native youth will run hundreds of miles for a cause and like, that's something we're used to seeing. And we're not used to seeing a skier as an activist as a native person. And so that representation side of it is huge. And to me, representation within the sport is one of the biggest things that I try to just fight for and make really known and really plain because there aren't other native folks who ski, but almost every time I bring up that conversation with them, their experience is so similar to mine where they just felt isolated and that their experience as a native person skiing was something they were all alone in or just their family or however it might be. And so yeah, there's a lot of work that needs to be done there. And it kind of comes from two different sides. But I think the singular solution of that is just having the outdoor industry and ski media on our side to be like, yeah, we're here. We are actually here in our experience as different, but our experience is the same in a lot of ways. And we, you know, we have something to contribute to this space because we've always been here. We are in these mountains before they were ski resorts or anything like that. But yeah, the representation thing for me is huge. You know, it's like, there were no black folks in any sport before Jackie Robinson. And now could we imagine professional sports as we know them the NDA the NFL MLB any of those sports without that. And so it took just like that first kind of seed of being like, oh no, this is a space where these people belong for the people themselves to know they belong there, and for the fans to embrace that. Yeah. And I think one of the things that I end up fighting all the time, one of the battles, I guess I start fighting online all the time is like people are like, why even mention it? Why do you even need to talk about it? And this is why you need to talk about it so that other people listening like you like myself, like whatever you're from, if you feel like there's not people like you out there, it's important to know that there are. I think that's why it's important to talk about for one. And two, it's like, why would I shut up about it? You know, like, why do I need to be like, why do I need to be quiet? Why do you need to be quiet? It's like we should be proud of where we come from, just like everybody else. It's like, I'm just as proud of the American side as I am the Arab side. But the American side is like a given. I am proud and I have to be proud almost, you know? The other side is like, I should just hide that and that's how I felt growing up was like you sweep it under the rug. You don't talk about it as much because you're afraid of how people are going to look at you one way or the other. Oh, totally. That's definitely how I feel and felt growing up. And I think it's definitely there's a way that it's amplified for those of us who are mixed race in that way. Because there's a part of you that's like, well, should I could cut my hair a little different and I could save it. Totally. I could dress a little different. And I could sink into that comfortability and privilege that's there . And then there's another side of you that's also why should I have to sacrifice that because you're uncomfortable. And I think that's really the thing about it is usually that anybody that's telling you to be quiet about it, it's not about you. It's about them. And what they're uncomfortable hearing. And for native folks in particular, I feel like where the part of the past of this continent that people and the land. Yeah, well, that's the thing. People don't want to don't want to talk about the fact that we wouldn't be having all these forest fires if native folks were still managing the forest to move game around and set small fires in order to get certain plant species to grow in a more prolific way. And all those things like that very concept of wilderness and how we see the land in this country is like based around removing native people first and then imagining it as empty. And I think that it feels especially magnified when you're in a ski resort and people get a lookout over this expanse of untouched lands and think it's all been perfect and that's the way it should be. And it's like, dude, this is our home. So how do you manage that then as a skier, like you're looking at this land and everybody's using this land and like at one point you feel a connection to the land as your own and like, but on the other hand, you're looking at it, like, I want to go skiing. I want to go out there and I want to I want everybody to use this land for what it's for, I guess. So there's got to be a balance point, and I'm, I don't know, I'm sure you've thought about this. What do you think about? How do you balance that as a as a native person? And as a person wants to go skiing. For me, I think like, I see it so much like, especially now I saw it differently, maybe, you know, 5 years ago when I had only been skiing for a couple of seasons. There was a part of me that was more resentful then. Didn't understand how the outdoor industry works and things like that. And now I see it as like, okay, this is an opportunity for justice and equity. Where it's like, we have nearly $1 trillion industry when it comes to outdoor recreation. That happens exclusively on stolen land. Yeah. And it's growing. It's growing every year. Yeah. And so it's like, okay, for me, the way I think about it is if we need better access if we need to take care of these lands better and if we need more places this can be more places to hike more places to all those things, then we should be at the center of how that looks moving forward as native people and the reason why is we need to create jobs for ourselves and roles for ourselves within our community and on the land that create economic opportunity moving forward, but also put our people back in those places. Yeah. And so that for me is really how I see it now. And I'm like, dang, look at all this backcountry skiing that happens out here in this empty place. Wouldn't it be amazing if there's a native ski guide here? Who could be the one to take you to go ski these lines? And as backcountry recreation and those things grow, I just think about what my experience of being able to get out there has done for my life and my well-being and I want that for other native folks. Where it's like, okay, we can't undo colonization. We can't undo capitalism overnight and just like, boom, everything's 1491 again. Yeah, right. That's not possible. So it's like, okay, well, if we have to choose a way as native people to make a living for ourselves, shouldn't it be out here in these places that make us feel whole and these places that miss us in the way that they're cared for? And so I really see it as an opportunity moving forward of like, okay, we can all gain something by bringing native people back into these spaces and if I can become a professional skier in the course of 7 years or I have another body who I just wrote an article for Patagonia's cleanest line about who became a ski patrol in the course of like three years. And she's on his homelands. And if those kind of things can happen that quick like a few times, it can probably happen a lot of times. And there's a consistency there. For native people improving our mental health and well-being by being on the land. And if we can, you know, have a place to live in a roof over our head at the same.