Thinking of my family and relatives that have come before me reminds me I belong outdoors no matter what I wear or what gear I have.
The Native American Perspective
For thousands of years, Native Americans and Indigenous people have resided in and around the present-day national parks. They know these lands better than anyone, and their history runs deep. Follow our Native American page to learn more about this important perspective, and how indigenous cultures have shaped—and continue to shape—our public lands.
Native Americans have always been outdoor people. We have stories and teachings of how important the land is to us and we respect it. However, the “outdoors” has been recreated to be a place of work and not being.
I did not know my deep connection to the land until after I left the Navajo Nation. I went away to college and explored the mountains of Utah, but no matter how much fun I had outside, I felt incomplete. I learned to ski, snowboard, and climb, but my outdoor heart was never whole until I drove home and saw the red sandstone and the vast desert that went on for miles. I didn’t need to be in my house, I just needed to be where the ground was red and the skies were blue. That’s when I knew land was part of my identity.