Crime at Gathering of Nations: Non-Profit Native Youth Organization Trailer Stolen, $10K in Merchandise Gone
Indian Country Today Media Network's photographer down at the Gathering of Nations, Cliff Matias, reported that the trailer for All Natives Skate Jam was stolen from the Quality Inn parking lot in Albuquerque sometime in the early morning hours of Monday. All Nations Skate Jam is a program run by Nibwaakaawin, a non-profit that focuses on American Indian youth. The trailer was loaded with over $10,000 worth of Native themed Vans and skating equipment and was to be sold in order to raise money for the all-volunteer Native non-profit's youth programs.
"Although the trailer had locks on the tongue and in the wheels, it did not stop the thieves from dragging the trailer across the parking lot and eventually hooking it up to a truck," Matias reported.
Nibwaakaawin is an organization dedicated to the "education and empowerment of Native youth," their website states. "Our mission is to foster creativity, build courage, enable cultural identity and pride, and promote non-violent and healthy physical activity through skateboarding."
The trailer's $10,000 worth of merchandise included sneakers, skateboards and clothing. Making matters potentially much worse, Nibwaakaawin founder and event organizer Todd Harder told Matias he's not sure if the non-profit is insured for the merchandise because of the manor in which it was stolen.
Matias reports that the loaded trailer was preparing for its journey back to Nibwaakaawin's headquarters in Michigan when it was stolen. The trailer was unmarked, so it's not clear if it was targeted for its contents. Local authorities and television news stations have been alerted to the robbery.
Harder told Matias, "It's a shame, we had a wonderful weekend with a record number of sneakers and gear sold, all helping to support our mission." One positive is that the trailer was taken after Harder and his team were able to unload some of the merchandise to raise money for their programs.
Matias noted that the Vans that were in the trailer were all custom made for the All Nations Skate Jam (here is what they look like). If anyone comes across anyone trying to sell these Vans, you can contact Nibwaakaawin a firstname.lastname@example.org or 517 065-9319.