Skateboard depicting Apache Gaan by Douglas Miles, San Carlos Apache
Apache Gaan I, 2007
Douglas Miles, San Carlos Apache
maplewood skateboard deck, acrylic
31" long x 8" wide
Douglas Miles is a San Carlos Apache-Akimel O'odham painter, printmaker and photographer from Arizona. He is the founder of Apache Skateboards and the Apache Skate Team.
Watching his son practice skateboarding, Miles drew corollaries between skateboarding and the Apache warrior tradition, as both involved increase concentration, stamina, and the ability to withstand pain. After finding no skate decks available relevant to Apache culture, Miles painted a skateboard deck himself. He gave it to his son, and this spawned Apache Skateboards.
Founded in 2002, Apache Skateboards is a pioneer of Native American-owned skateboard companies. Native artists working on the Apache Skateboard project with Miles include Razelle Bennally; Tracy Polk Jr.; Douglas Miles Jr.; Keith Secola; Reuben Ringlero; Irwin Lewis; Tony Steele; and Tashadawn Hastings. As Apache Skate Team, the group gives skating demonstrations, organizes skateboard contests and concerts, and curates art shows around the country, and most importantly on Native American reservations throughout the American Southwest.
In 2019, Miles and Apache Skateboards were featured in the documentary The Mystery of Now. In the film, Miles shares the socio-political context around the history that lead to life on the San Carlos Apache reservation. The Mystery of Now was featured in National Geographic's short film showcase.
Douglas's artwork work is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Apache Skateboard's art is in the permanent collections of the Montclair Art Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Institute of American Indian Art, Warner Brothers Studios, and The Eddie Basha Collection.