A 24-year-old woman from the Navajo Nation recently went viral on social media after she posted a video of her skateboarding in the desert.
Naiomi Glasses has been skateboarding since she was 5 years old. She said it helped her deal with some of the bullies she faced as a kid because of her bilateral cleft lip and palate.
"Skateboarding became a place to escape and be myself and be completely free," she said.
Glasses grew up skating in skateparks in the Valley. Her family moved back to the reservation when she was 12.
"That's when I realized there's a lack of skateparks," she said.
She said the closest park to her is an hour away.
A few months ago, she decided to try skating on the smooth sandstone near her house. She posted a video of it on TikTok, and it's gotten 1.8 million views.
"I feel like everything like that has happened in 2020 has just been a blur, and even now in 2021, I'm like, 'whoa, this is insane. This isn't happening, is it?'" Glasses said.
Teen Vogue even did an article on her, highlighting her efforts to bring more skateparks to the Navajo Nation.
"At least with skateboarding, if you don't have a team, you can do it on your own, and I feel that would help so many kids tremendously," Glasses said.
She’s partnered with a group to bring more parks to the reservation, currently working to get one to Two Grey Hills in New Mexico.
Glasses loves skateboarding, but she said first and foremost, she's a weaver.
"I just [fell] completely in love with it, and it's become a career for me," she said.
She makes purses, saddle blankets and rugs with bright, colorful patterns. A lot of the materials used come from the desert.
"The white is a natural sheep color, and the red comes from cochineal," she said.
Glasses is hoping through her work and with a growing audience on her social media accounts, she can share the Navajo culture with the world.
"Most importantly, it's to educate people that, you know, as Native Americans, we are still here, and our cultures continue and we're thriving," Glasses said.
Glasses sells her weaving work online, and she accepts custom requests as well.