OKMULGEE, Okla.- During the season of giving, Cordell Burris (Mvskoke) gifted one of his own Nokose skateboards to a young girl who requested one for Christmas. The request was made through a Christmas Wish from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Children & Family Services’ Angel Tree program.
During that time, Burris also sought out to donate a second skateboard to a child who requested it. The two boards were made from hardware and supplies from Quickie-Mart Tulsa.
This year marked Burris’ first time giving back to the MCN Angel Tree program. “This time, this is more of giving to a family in need,” Burris said.
Last year Burris was able to give away 50 skateboards at no cost.
“I pray one of these boards turns a kid professional, but more importantly I hope that it gives them an escape from their surroundings, just as skateboarding has for me,” Burris said in a Facebook post.
Burris’ journey of giving began at a young age when a local skater whom Burris looked up to, gave him a handed down skateboard.
“I’ve always looked back at that gesture and remember what it was for me as a kid and I wanted a lot of the kids to have that same feeling, because a lot of kids can’t afford skateboards. Skateboards are expensive,” Burris said.
Every board Burris has given away came from his own money, he does it without profiting. Burris has heard others say that you have to become famous and rich to give back, but he says that is not true. He believes if anyone wants to give back, they just need to put in enough effort and hard work to do so.
Nokose Skateboards started two years ago. Burris currently goes through a manufacturer in Las Vegas to produce the skateboards. Someday Burris plans to manufacture his own boards within the next couple of years.
All of Burris’ artwork is designed by his friend Tehillah Wind (Mvskoke). The brand name “Nokose” translates to Burris’ clan, which is Bear clan. “When you think of bears you think of protection and loving of their young, so that’s why I figured I should name the brand something that it can stand for looking out for our young,” Burris said.
Burris started skateboarding when he was 10 years old. He taught himself by watching videos, performing imitations, and simply watching others perform tricks. Throughout the years he has made great memories of making new friends and traveling to places by himself. He enjoys skateboarding anywhere, anytime.
What Burris sees within the next generation is Native children struggling with how to cope with their parents’ behavioral issues or addictions. Just as well, they sometimes struggle to figure out how to be a functioning adult once they reach their parent’s age.
“A lot of Native kids do not have a very comfortable home living situation so a lot of times we need something to get us away from our home. So skateboarding is what did that for me and it kept me from getting in trouble as well,” Burris said.
Overall Burris is very grateful for the opportunity to give away skateboards to children for free.