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Indians skate for a good cause

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GLENDALE, Calif. – Natives came out to roller skate and support the Southern California Indian Center at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, Calif., June 28. The night was filled with old school roller skating fun, arcade games, food and a Couples Skate Competition.

“We wanted to plan a family event,” said SCIC’s Board of Directors President Shawn Imitates Dog, Lakota. “We felt this roller skating event would attract all ages, take us back in time a little bit and to have some fun.”

According to the Web site, the goal of SCIC has been to promote social and economic self-sufficiency for American Indian people in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. SCIC currently operates three service centers including: Los Angeles, Fountain Valley and Riverside. These centers cover more than 5,000 square miles and host one of the largest concentrations of American Indian/Native Alaskans in the nation.

“At a recent board meeting, we discussed how the economy has affected corporations donating food to the SCIC Food Pantry,” Imitates Dog said. “We wanted to think of a way to raise some money and get the community to donate non-perishable food items for a food drive, even just a few items from each person helps because it all adds up.”

For $10, the skaters had the roller rink for two hours (skates included). Non-skaters also came out to watch the pairs show off their dance and skate moves in the competition; 10 couples participated in the skate-off.

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Elton Naswood, Navajo, project coordinator of the Red Circle Project in Los Angeles, was one of the guest judges for the competition. “For judging the skaters, we came to the consensus on the creativity and the synchronicity. Some couples did the same type of moves, at the same time, and that was really cool.”

The winning couple was actress Crystle Lightning, Cree, and Jason Lewis, Choctaw, education guidance counselor for Torres Martinez Tribal TANF Center in Gardena, Calif. They showed some serious skills on skates.

“It was awesome to support such a good cause,” Lightning said. Lewis added, “Have fun, be healthy. That’s the way to do it.”

By the sweat on everyone’s brow and the smiles on their faces, it looked like everyone had a blast.

SCIC Executive Director Paula Star, Cheyenne, was happy to see such a great turn out. “It was great just to see the families, our community, coming together to have fun. F-U-N!”

All proceeds go to SCIC and food drive donations will be used to replenish the SCIC food pantry. Organizers hope to make the roller skating gathering an annual occurrence and hope to plan more events to serve the urban Indian community.