Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dowd Uribe

Second Advisor

Lindsay Gifford


The relationship between indigenous groups and outdoor recreation is something that has been analyzed by various scholars. In the North American context, scholars have primarily focused on conflicts regarding land use, particularly as it relates to the concept of the sacred. Although these works speak to general truths, the complexity of the relationship between outdoor pursuits and Native American groups is often over-simplified. This thesis analyzes the potential of outdoor recreation as a means of economic empowerment for the Navajo people. The work draws on the various initiatives currently underway to promote outdoor recreation in the Navajo Nation. These initiatives to develop outdoor recreation have taken into consideration sacred lands to avoid desecration. This work reveals that the promotion of outdoor recreation on Navajo Lands has immense economic potential; however, careful planning and consideration is imperative to respect cultural and sacred understandings in regard to place.