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Critical Orientations: Indigenous Studies and Outdoor Education

This course supports outdoor educators in engaging with culturally responsive incorporation of indigenous studies concepts into outdoor education curriculum and programming. While outdoor school programs in Oregon serve 5th and 6th grade students, this course's content applies broadly to all outdoor and experiential education.

Course Overview
Created by Dr. Spirit Brooks and Dr. Leilani Sabzalian, this course introduces the following concepts:

  • Land Acknowledgement
  • Colonization
  • Native Representation in Outdoor Education
  • Sovereignty and Self-Determination
  • Critically analyzing curriculum using the 6 P’s
  • Land-Based Education

What You'll Learn
This course is designed to surface some of the common assumptions and misinformation about Indigenous people and cultures, particularly as they relate to outdoor school in Oregon. You will:

  • Learn to critically analyze how Indigenous peoples and knowledge are included and represented in outdoor education and the consequences of bias, misrepresentation, and appropriation.
  • Reflect on how Indigenous studies concepts complicate and enrich our practice as outdoor educators.
  • Discover alternative curricular framings and orientations and support peer collaboration to develop ideas for different contexts using curricular self-evaluation tools.

You do not have to be involved with 5th or 6th grade outdoor school to access this course. The course content applies to all levels of outdoor education.


Please don't hesitate to contact us at or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!