How Women in Bolivia Honor Their Indigenous Roots Through Skating

In Cochabamba, Bolivia, an all-women skate crew called ImillaSkate uses skateboarding as a way to honor their roots, empower each other and stand against the persecution that Indigenous people have historically faced in the country. The women, who hail from Bolivia’s native Aymara and Quechua populations, skate in polleras—colorful, layered skirts traditionally worn in their culture. The unexpected attire harkens back to when Spanish colonial rule stole land from Indigenous communities, marginalizing and oppressing them to the point that many women abandoned their polleras for fear of discrimination. “By skating in polleras,” says Daniela Santiváñez, co-founder of ImillaSkate, “we want to show that girls and women can do anything, no matter how you look or how people see you.” Read more from Santiváñez—and view the vivid photographs of the crew from Brazilian photographer Luisa Dörr—at NPR.

Image courtesy of Luisa Dörr/NPR