The Healing Journey


Since summer 2007, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council has led an annual Healing Journey. Each Healing Journey provides an opportunity to build and enhance knowledge, skills, and awareness of the unique and collective challenges and opportunities of the people who live across this watershed. We learn from the river. We learn from the peoples of the river. We return with richer stories and experiences to communicate. Healing Journeys carry a different experience for every paddler, community member, and person who encounters the experience or even just the concept.

Bridging Together
The healing journey is a vessel to carry local Traditional knowledge and modern science across this vast geographic watershed and it bridges the ideas, visions, and hopes of our diverse cultures. It is also a medium to share those stories and visions with people around the world, inspiring similar journeys in Siberia, Canada, South America, Africa, and the Salish Sea.

At a time when it is so easy to disconnect from the natural world and from the people who live outside one's day to day experience, the Healing Journey inspires reconnection. As we paddle rivers, we visit the peoples of the land. Inspiring an intimate connection with the natural world and being inspired by the knowledge gained, furthering the vision of a better world.

As we paddle, one canoe tows a multi probe data sonde which collects and stores readings on 11 water quality parameters every two minutes. In analysis of this data profile, we can complement patterns and anomalies with the stories of the people. Across the YRITWC science efforts, we realize that the fusion of both modern science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge is fundamental in protecting and preserving the Yukon River for future generations.

The Healing Journey provides the YRITWC with the opportunity to collect this traditional knowledge and to use modern technology to deepen our understanding of the health of the Yukon River Watershed.

Our Future...
We believe the vitality of cultures and the health of rivers depend on reaching out to and engaging youth in understanding and caring about these relationships to our natural world. In every community the Healing Journey visits, youth engagement is a priority -- we take them out to paddle the river and learn from them as the share their experiences and hopes for the future of this River.

The Healing Journey has been supported by generous partners who see the value of these efforts and engagements. We offer many thanks to the National Geographic Society, the United States Geological Survey, and REI.

2007 Yukon River: Click here to view the photo map

2008 Porcupine River: Click here to view the photo map

2010 Koyukuk River: Click here to view the photo map