First Advisor

Hannah Gosnell

Date of Award

Spring 6-15-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geography and University Honors






Indigenous Research, Experiential Education, Cultural Revitalization, Whitewater Rafting, Nez Perce, Participatory Research




In our rapidly unraveling world, the re-centering of Indigenous ways of being and knowing is more important than ever. This re-centering is based in cultural revitalization and transmission within Indigenous communities, and these processes are intimately tied to relationship with Land. This writing describes the "doing" of an Indigenous-led experiential educational program for Nez Perce and Cayuse descended youth -- the Saqáanma School -- which was conducted via whitewater raft on pik'uunin (the Snake River) through saqáanpa (Hells Canyon) in July 2021. The complex exchanges between people, culture, and Land embodied in this project are examined through Barker and Pickerill's (2020) approach to 'doing' geographic research as a continuous, action-based "commitment to a place and people". 'Doing' geography differently manifests in this work through a unique mechanism, whitewater rafting, as well as participatory methods, centering of Indigenous ontologies, and consideration of the 'before' and 'after' of this project as one contribution to a long chain of past, present, and future labor spanning generations. My positionality and shifts in perspective, methodology, and research objective over the course of the investigation are also detailed. This writing illustrates one approach to 'doing' collaborative, culturally informed, and Land-based experiential learning, explores the successes and failures of our particular 'doing'-based approach, and critiques the ways in which it promotes and sustains Indigenous value systems.


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