Skateboards and Indigenous culture: How a local teacher combined both and won an award
EDMONTON -- A local science teacher has received a prestigious award for a project that combines Indigenous history and skateboards.
Kristian Basaraba teaches at Next Step High School in Sherwood Park. He created Sk8trepeneur last year. The idea is for students to build a brand, market and sell it, while learning about Indigenous culture and issues.
“This project, it was entitled exploring colonialism, creativity and reconciliation with skateboards,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
“Let’s look at Canada’s colonial past and let’s create skateboard graphics that express that.”
He worked with a trio of experts, educators and artists, who specialize in Indigenous history to come up with the project, including pro skateboarder Joe Buffalo from Maskwacis.
“I wanted them to hear from a residential school survivor,” sad Basaraba.
“I saw his vision and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is like for real. He’s actually like speaking on some truths,’” Buffalo said.
He shared his experiences of attending a residential school, and his struggles with substance abuse before making it as a pro-skater.
“I had the opportunity to pursue it, but again, I was taking out my unresolved childhood traumas and a lot of issues I hadn’t dealt with from stemming from these institutions.”
“The drugs and the alcohol you know, I was covering it all up as a mask.”
“I’m not sure how many of them have ever actually heard first-hand from someone who kind of went through that,” Basaraba said.
“You could hear a pin drop when he was speaking.”
Basaraba received the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching for the project, and while he’s honoured, he says it’s about getting the message of the project out there.
“Its more about getting the project recognized. I really think there’s a lot of merit in this project and it’s something that I would like to continue and do it maybe every year,” he said.
“Him telling truths, every school needs to have a course like this.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Adam Cook.