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Apache Skateboards and Ethan Hawke’s 'Indeh'

Behind the Scenes: The collaboration of Apache Skateboards and Ethan Hawke's Indeh

As Ethan Hawke’s Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars continues its run on the New York Times bestseller list, many people across the nation are unaware of the collaboration on the graphic novel by actor and author Ethan Hawke, artist Greg Ruth and owner and creator of Apache Skateboards, Douglas Miles.

See Related: Apache Wars Graphic Novel “Indeh” by Ethan Hawke Instant Bestseller

In an interview with ICTMN, Miles discussed that, and the celebration of a novel that did not perpetuate stereotypes of Native people.

In addition, Miles talked about how the trio also worked to create an impressive line of Apache Skateboard Indeh decks, that Hawke himself has skated on.

How do you feel about the project?

I’m very proud. Indeh: a Story of the Apache Wars stands out right now because of the lack of diversity and diverse stories in media in general. With the exception of The Revenant, stories about Native people rarely get made or seen. The general public would rather ignore, gloss over, or romanticize the history of mistreatment of Native people in America. Movies are basically entertainment vehicles and Hollywood wants people to feel good at the movies so they can cash in.

Unfortunately Hollywood would rather lampoon or stereotype natives in film, it’s accepted. Adam Sandler’s recent Ridiculous Six racist debacle is proof of what I call pop culture genocide.

Indeh is at the opposite end of that spectrum and sorely needed because the Apache characters are not only defiant, they’re humanized and justified in their anger.

Indeh Cover - Grand Central Publishing

They’re neither perfect nor noble; they’re people at war, but also highly complex fathers, fighters and statesmen while they sought autonomy from the government. It’s a bold move on behalf of Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth.

The Apache history and the Apache people’s fight for independence have inspired the world.

Where and when did the meeting take place with Hawke and Ruth?

Our first meeting was at the Homage Skateshop in Brooklyn, New York. We [Apache Skateboards] have been a fully functioning skate organization traveling to different Native communities for 15 years. We hold skate camps. We’re not a charity. We also helped design skate parks, design clothing, curate art shows and promote artists we’ve worked with. 

On June 7th Douglas Miles sr. Ethan Hawke & Douglas Miles Jr. held an Apache X Indeh Skateboard release party at the Homage Skateshop in Brooklyn. – Photo: Ernie Paniciolli

We created a line of clothing for Volcom. Apache Skateboards has collaborated with artists and brands before, so this wasn’t new. However, a graphic novel dealing with the Apache wars written from the Apache war perspective is new. Ethan Hawke did as good a job as any historian would.

Greg Ruth and I were mutual admirers of each other’s work on Instagram. I saw his Indeh works and we discussed Indeh later by phone and discussed fun new ways to tell an Apache story.

Apache Skateboards created a collectible series of Apache Skateboards. Designed and produced by Apache Skateboards featuring the art of Greg Ruth in full collaboration with Ethan Hawke. They are are available at www.apacheskateboards.com

How in-depth did they go to cover the history of the Apache?

I’m not a historian. However, my brother Dale Miles is a long-standing and well-respected historian. I grew up in Dale’s shadow learning, discussing and imagining these real Apache historical tales and as all young Apache men, being inspired by them.

Indeh is a fact-based story of the Apache wars that introduces the reader to Apache leaders, players and characters that were on the stage back during tumultuous times in the southwest.

Indeh Page - Grand Central Publishing

With regard to the battle for Apache independence, when an army of three thousand soldiers are trying to hunt and capture a group of 120 native warriors, women and children, that’s no joke. 

The full line of Apache Skateboards is available at www.apacheskateboards.com.

Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow’s and Sports Editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling