This essay examines Indigenous activists' use of the social media platform Instagram to address and intervene in environmental injustices perpetrated by the outdoor recreation industry in the United States. It argues that the effectiveness of this work stems from the merging of social media systems with grounded Indigenous praxis. Since its origin in the late nineteenth century, the outdoor recreation industry has been complicit in American settler colonialism, using marketing techniques to represent land as wild, pristine, and unpeopled. In particular, the industry has been a driving force behind the narratives that have shaped the contemporary views of public land both as wilderness spaces—existing outside normal human activity—and as collectively owned spaces. However, this narrative is being challenged in creative and concrete ways by Indigenous people who are turning these companies' own platforms and strategies against them. Using a multimodal analysis of several Instagram accounts focused on Indigenous environmental justice, this essay calls attention to the methods Indigenous environmentalists are using to engage with the outdoor industry, push against its narrative of erasure, and create the foundations for Indigenous-centered outdoor recreation and social media activism.


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pp. 311-334
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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