Wyoming Filmmaker Documents Skateboarding On Wind River Reservation
"My great-great grandfather Chief Washakie was the one who signed the treaty for this area," Shoshone Sun Dance Chief James Trosper says in Good Medicine, a short film documenting the popularity of skateboarding on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Trosper is one of several Shoshone and Northern Arapaho elders who are helping merge sacred tribal customs with new cultural rituals.
"Those values, traditions, and ceremonies, all of those good things our old people fought to preserve. It's like we live in two worlds; take the good from both and leave the bad," the Wind River Medicine Man says. "We all know as Native American people, what they mean when they say 'good medicine'. It's healing, and it's powerful."
Along with Trosper, the film follows 12-year-old Patrick Smith, one of many kids on the Reservation who have discovered a sense of community at the local skatepark.
"Skating with your friends is a positive ride," Smith says. "A skateboard is not just a piece of wood, it's helped so many people through life."
Patrick's mother Melissa Redman credits the park for keeping her son and other children out of trouble.
"How I grew up, I really didn't want him around that kind of stuff," she said. "I don't have to worry about him when he's at the skatepark skating with his friends."
Good Medicine is the latest project from filmmaker Jackson Tisi. The Wilson, Wyo. native is now based in Brooklyn and has directed documentaries, music videos, and commercials for Mastercard and Spotify. The short film was commissioned by Facebook Watch and has tallied over 100,000 views since its release.