Rainfall warnings couldn’t keep Winnipeg’s Indigenous skateboard and hip-hop communities from gathering for a showcase Saturday afternoon.
The event, called Wreckonciliation, aimed to bring Indigenous skateboarders and hip-hop artists together with their allies.
“It’s a chance for youth to feel like this is their thing,” said Peater Thomas, a co-host and co-organizer of the event.
Originally planned to be held outdoors in the West Broadway area, heavy rain forced Wreckonciliation to move to The Edge, an indoor skate park in the city’s North End.
Even with the gloomy weather, the building was packed. Well over 50 people took part, either as spectators or as participants.
Haiden and Hailey Ingliss were among the participants. The eight-year-old twins came with their mom and did some freestyle skateboarding.
“I don’t know how to skateboard, but I like it,” Haiden said.
Phillip Forbes was one of the more seasoned skateboarders at the event. He’s been skating since he was nine-years-old and hopes younger skateboarders like the Ingliss twins will take something away from the event.
“I think it brings a lot of awareness to what’s going on in the skate community and it brings awareness that there are a lot of Aboriginals that are in skateboarding as well,” Forbes said.
“Things like this really brings everybody together and it actually brings good energy, which is what the skate community needs.”
Forbes, who identifies as Indigenous, said he’s grateful for the community of the skate family represented at Wreckonciliation.
“It makes me actually super proud. I’m actually really proud to be a part of this and to be an Aboriginal as well,” he said.
Hip hop for reconciliation
In addition to a lot of freestyle skateboarding and food, a number of hip-hop artists performed at the event.
“I came to just be part of the community and see other Indigenous rappers that are doing the same thing,” said Rey Hope, one of the performers.
Hope grew up in Steinbach in foster care and didn’t have the opportunity to interact with many Indigenous people until just a few years ago, when she experienced homelessness.
Now 19 years old and a performer, she draws on these experiences in her art, and is seeking healing for herself and her community through it.
She believes Indigenous people need to see people like themselves in the Canadian music landscape, including in hip hop.
“It gives our people something to look forward to and look toward. I’ve seen a lot of my people in pain, but some of us are using our voice, our story and our pain to put it into something beautiful,” she said.
She hopes her community will be inspired by the music she makes, and help build up the Indigenous music scene.