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Apache Skateboards started when artist Douglas Miles Senior painted a custom graphic on his son’s board. After skating the board around their reservation in San Carlos, Arizona, Douglas Miles Jr. reported, “everybody wants one.” Since then, Apache Skateboards has been producing boards, art, building skateparks, and helping other reservations raise funds to build parks of their own. While showing art in San Francisco, Douglas Sr. linked up with Tommy Guerrero, who mentioned the idea of Apache doing a board for Real’s Actions REALized program. We caught up with Doug and Doug Jr. to get all the details in the interview below.

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Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

How’d Apache Skateboards start and how long has it been around? Apache Skateboards is about 15 years old now.

I got the idea from watching Doug Jr. skate, painted him a board one day, he rode it around the res (reservation), “Dad, everybody wants one!” and the rest is history. That’s the nutshell version but I know I wanted to create something that Apache and Native kids could be proud of too. I saw a lot of “native-inspired” graphics but I knew there were none done by a Native artist.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

What’s the best part about skating in Arizona? There are untapped spots, new spots that people neglect.

There’s very little snow. Good skate scene, good weather, good vibes and good people.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

What’s the worst part? The weather in the summer is blazing hot. It’s good for swimming but bad for skating.

What’s the skate scene like in San Carlos? It’s not that big in numbers but it’s good in support and everyone’s always down to skate. There’s a lot of kids that rip. They’re motivated, creative and productive rippers that want to get better at it.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

What’s the biggest misconception about Native Americans you see in American media? I think the biggest is that we don’t even exist or that we’re all sad or having a hard time. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us, we want them to skate with us. We don’t want them to wonder who we are , we want them to know who we are through skateboarding.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

How is an Indian reservation different from a typical American city? In a lot of ways it’s not that different except there’s no museums, coffee spots, movie theatres, malls, or big skate parks.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

How is it similar? It’s similar in the way we see things. We want to have fun and skate too but sometimes we get chased by security.

We have laws and rules here too and a lot of fun.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

What positive effects has skating had in your community? It keeps kids active, creative and motivated. It teaches kids it’s okay to be different, an outcast and independent. Skating indirectly teaches a lot of cool stuff like photography, film, and art too. Overall, it’s definitely positive especially since there’s not much to do here at all.

How did the Apache Skateboards x Actions REALized connection come about? I was at an artist residency in San Francisco Spring 2017, (deYoung Museum) last year for two months. I knew DLX was based there and wanted to meet and thank Tommy Guerrero for all the support he’s given us in the past. He invited me over. We started talking and mentioned doing something with Actions REALized. I had created about 9 new paintings while in San Francisco. He selected one to go on the limited edition deck. He basically designed the whole board. We talked about the Actions REALized project then. Took about a year to happen but it was timing and well worth the wait. Having the support of Real Skateboards and the DLX crew is amazing. It’s got all the kids in San Carlos, especially the Apache Crew and those who follow us on social media, so hyped to keep skating.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

Tell us a little bit about the fundraisers Apache Skate has put on and the parks it helped build. We’ve actually visited over a dozen Indian Nations throughout the country. We helped one res start the process for them to have their own skate park in Red Lake Minnesota. We’ve also held skate comps in the communities we visit.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

Are you a full-time artist aside from running the brand? I’m a full-time artist and sales of my art is what keeps the product rolling on for Apache Skateboards.

Where has your art taken you career-wise or physically in the world? Well my art has allowed me to travel from NY to LA, San Fran to Miami FLA. I also do large scale murals.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

Did you get into skating because if your son, Doug, or did he get into it because of you?

When I was 12, I would skate with my friends ( the 70’s) and had tons of fun. When Doug Jr got into I wanted to support him because I remembered how much fun I had. So I got into because of him.

Apache Skate is big into the graffiti scene. Is that a big part of skate culture in Arizona? I think art has always been a big part of skate culture. Some pros have art careers, Ed Templeton (Toy Machine) and Mark Gonzales (Krooked) come to mind. I got into the Graffiti/murals scene because of friends in the Phoenix area kept inviting me to paint. I’m not a graffiti artist but decided to try working in spray paint and am now trying to get good. I’m new to it but have already painted murals in San Francisco and New York City.

Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards

What’s next for Apache Skateboards?Well, we want to do a lot of things. Keep traveling, skating, filming and stoking our kids on and off the res. The other stuff we ’re working on we won’t share, yet.

Anything you want to add? We want to encourage all kids to keep skating. Whether your Native American or not, Apache Skateboards is for everyone.

Anything you want to add? DLXSF , Real Skateboards , Spitfire Wheels Tommy Guerrero, Jim Thiebaud, Krooked, Tray, Elijah, Tasha, Tee, God, Wife/ Bae & Kochise, The Miles Family, JFA/ Brian Brannon, Cowtown Skates, and all our followers and friends on social media we haven’t even met yet.

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