Watch a Tony Hawk-Produced Documentary on an Indigenous Skateboarding Legend
The film from director Amar Chebib follows residential school survivor Joe Buffalo
Published Oct 25, 2021Skateboarding icon Tony Hawk has executive-produced a new short documentary on Indigenous skater and residential school survivor Joe Buffalo.
Directed by Syrian-Canadian filmmaker Amar Chebib, Joe Buffalo follows the eponymous Samson Cree, an Alberta-born skater who first fell in love with the sport after watching an older cousin land tricks on the board.
"For me, skateboarding was definitely like a saviour, given the circumstances of me growing up," Buffalo says in the film, "having to deal with the cards I was dealt."
At age 11, Buffalo was taken from his family and was sent away to a residential school. In the film, he describes the genocidal system as "boarding schools set up by the government and run by the church to destroy my people. 'Kill the Indian and save the child.'"
Buffalo would return to skateboarding upon leaving the residential school system, and though his path to turning pro was marred by intergenerational trauma and struggles with sobriety, he would overcome these obstacles to become a leader and educator for younger skaters.
Joe Buffalo can be viewed in the player below via The New Yorker. Chebib's doc previously captured the audience award at SXSW 2021, and audience and jury awards at the Regard film festival in Saguenay, QC, and the Calgary Underground Film Festival.