Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 11, No 2 (2017)

The Material-Discursive Spaces of Outdoor Recreation: Rhetorical Exclusion and Settler Colonialism at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort

Kyle Boggs
Issued Date: 25 Sep 2017


In this article, I confront settler colonial practices as they occur in the under-examined spaces of outdoor recreation. ‘Spaces of outdoor recreation’ refers to a theoretical and meaningful interpretation of outdoor recreational spaces that are implicated by both discourse and material reality. I argue that such a theoretical position is necessarily interdisciplinary and crucial to understanding rhetorical exclusion. Using the controversy over development by a ski resort on the San Francisco Peaks, which is held sacred to at least thirteen regional tribes of the southwestern United States, as a case study, I analyze some of the ways rhetorical exclusion is embedded in spaces of outdoor recreation. By revealing the way in which privilege and oppression are constructed in the spatial arrangements of the resort, I argue that this discourse always already works to the benelt of pro-development stakeholders, in this case the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort. By establishing how rhetorical exclusion operates through the ever-expanding spaces of outdoor recreation, I highlight the need for more critical scholarly engagement of such spaces as one of the many communicative practices that maintain settler colonialism.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.18841


Adorno, T.W. 1983. ‘Veblen’s Attack on Culture’, in Prisms (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press): 73-94. 

Aitchison, C. 2001. ‘Theorizing Other Discourses of Tourism, Gender and Culture: Can the Subaltern Speak (in Tourism)?’, Tourist Studies 1.2: 133-47. Doi:

Aitchison, C., N.E. MacLeod, and S.J. Shaw. 2002. Leisure and Tourism Landscapes: Social and Cultural Geographies (London: Routledge).

Alaimo, S., and S. Hekman. 2008. ‘Introduction: Emerging Models of Materiality in Feminist Theory’, in S. Alaimo and S.J. Hekman (eds.), Material Feminisms(Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press): 1-22.

Aristotle. 1997 . ‘Book Viii’, Politics: Books Vii and Viii (trans. R. Kraut; Oxford: Clarendon Press): 169-214.

Barad, K. 2008. ‘Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter’, in S. Alaimo and S.J. Hekman (eds.), Material Feminisms (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press): 120-56. 

Barton, B.F., and M.S. Barton. 1993. ‘Ideology and the Map: Toward a Postmodern Visual Design Practice’, in N.R. Blyler and C. Thralls (eds.), Professional Commu­nication: The Social Perspective (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications): 49-78.

Bauer, K. 2007. ‘Protecting Indigenous Spiritual Values’, Peace Review 19.3: 343-49. Doi:

Benally, K., and R.T. Cody (dirs.). 2005. The Snowbowl Effect (Flagstaff, AZ: Indigenous Action Media).

Bitzer, L.F. 1968. ‘The Rhetorical Situation’, Philosophy & Rhetoric 1.1: 1-14.

Blevins, Jason. 2016. ‘With Deal for Purgatory, Durango Businessman Links Four SW Ski Areas’, Denver Post, 29 April. Online:

Boggs, K. 2011. ‘Direct Action Halts Ski Resort Construction on Sacred Site’, Earth First! Journal. Online:

Boggs, K. 2012a. ‘The Rhetoric of Exclusion on the San Francisco Peaks’, The Noise: Arts & News,July: 8-9.

Boggs, K. 2012b. ‘Tree Sit Halts Construction of Reclaimed Wastewater Pipeline’, The Noise: Arts & News,September: 10-11.

Boggs, K. 2016. ‘Toward a Discourse on Recreational Colonialism: Critically Engaging the Haunted Spaces of Outdoor Recreation on the Colorado Plateau’ (PhD diss., The University of Arizona). 

Butler, J. 1993. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (New York: Routledge).

Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission. 1974. ‘In the Matter of Public Hearing Reference Development of Hart Prairie’, Northern Arizona University, Special Collections and Archives (Coconino County, Flagstaff, Arizona: 29 January).

Coleman, A.G. 1996. ‘The Unbearable Whiteness of Skiing’, Pacific Historical Review 65.4: 583-614. Doi:

Coleman, A.G. 2004. ‘The White West: Ski Town Image, Tourism, and Community’, Ski Style: Sport and Culture in the Rockies (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas): 147-81.

Conklin, W.E. 1997. ‘The Assimilation of the Other within a Master Discourse’, in S. Riggins (ed.), The Language and Politics of Exclusion: Others in Discourse(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications): 226-48.

De Certeau, M. 1988. The Practice of Everyday Life (trans. Steven Rendall; Berkeley: University of California Press).

Depoe, S.P., J.W. Delicath and M.F. Elsenbeer. 2004. Communication and Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making (Albany: State University of New York Press).

Dobrin, S. 2001. ‘Writing Takes Place’, in Sidney I. Dobrin and Christian R. Weisser (eds.), Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches (Albany: State University of New York Press): 11-25.

Dussias, A.M. 2001. ‘Cultural Conflicts Regarding Land Use: The Conflict between Recreational Users at Devils Tower and Native American Ceremonial Users’,Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 2: 13-40. 

Endres, D. 2009. ‘The Rhetoric of Nuclear Colonialism: Rhetorical Exclusion of American Indian Arguments in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Siting Decision’,Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 6.1: 39-60. Doi:

Finney, C. 2014. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Ameri­cans to the Great Outdoors (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press). Doi:

Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge (New York: Pantheon Books).

Foucault, M. 1978. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Vol. 1 (New York: Random House).

Glowacka, M., D. Washburn, and J. Richland. 2009. ‘Nuvatukya’ovi, San Francisco Peaks: Balancing Western Economies with Native American Spiritualities’,Current Anthropology 50.4: 547-61. Doi:

Gordon, A. 1997. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

Grabham, E. 2009. ‘“Flagging” the Skin: Corporeal Nationalism and the Properties of Belonging’, Body & Society 15.1: 63-82. Doi:

Hall, C.M., and S. Page. 2002. The Geography of Tourism and Recreation: Environment, Place, and Space (London: Routledge).

Haraway, D. 1991. Simions, Cyborgs and Women (New York: Free Association Books).

Harding, S.G. 2008. Sciences from Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities (Durham: Duke University Press). Doi:

Harvey, D. 2006. ‘Space as a Keyword’, in Noel Castree and Derek Gregory (eds.), David Harvey: A Critical Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell): 270-94. Doi:

Hekman, S. 2008. ‘Constructing the Ballast: An Ontology for Feminism’, in S. Alaimo and S.J. Hekman (eds.), Material Feminisms (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press): 85-119.

Hope, D. 2004. ‘Gendered Environments: Gender and the Natural World in the Rhetoric of Advertising’, in C.A. Hill and M.H. Helmers (eds.), Defining Visual Rhetorics (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum): 155-77. 

Horkheimer, M., and T.W. Adorno. 2007. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (Stanford: Stanford University Press).

Killingsworth, J.M., and J.S. Palmer. 1992. Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).

Kniazkov, M. 2005. ‘Treading on a Shrine: Sacred Site Now an ATV Playground’, The Colorodoan. Online:

LaChapelle, D. 1993. Deep Powder Snow: Forty-Years of Ecstatic Skiing, Avalanches, and Earth Wisdom (Skyland, NC: Kivaki Press). 

Lefebvre, H. 1991. The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell).

Long, J., and K. Hylton. 2002. ‘Shades of White: An Examination of Whiteness in Sport’, Leisure Studies 21.2: 87-103. Doi:

MacCannell, Dean. 2013. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (Berkeley: University of California Press, 3rd edn). 

Makley, M.S., and M.J. Makley. 2010. Cave Rock: Climbers, Courts, and a Washoe Indian Sacred Place (Reno: University of Nevada Press).

Mills, S. 2004. Discourse (New York and London: Routledge, 2nd edn).

Morgensen, S.L. 2010. ‘Settler Homonationalism: Theorizing Settler Colonialism within Queer Modernities’, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 16.1-2: 105-31.

Morgensen, S.L. 2012. ‘Theorizing Gender, Sexuality and Settler Colonialism: An Introduction’, Settler Colonial Studies 2: 2-22. Doi:

Navajo Nation v. USFS. 2006. Vol. 1: 2829-899.
NEPA. 1969. ‘National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 § 102, 42 U.S.C. § 4332. 1994’. Online:

Oravitz, Jeff. 2010. ‘Less Than One Percent of the Peaks Developed’, Arizona Daily Sun, 27 August. Online:

Rojek, C. 1995. Decentring Leisure: Rethinking Leisure Theory (London: Sage Publica­tions).

Rothman, H. 1998. Devil’s Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas).

Rowe, A.C. 2008. Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliances (Durham: Duke University Press). Doi:

Sanchez, J., M.E. Stuckey, and R. Morris. 1999. ‘Rhetorical Exclusion: The Govern­ment’s Case against American Indian Activists, AIM, and Leonard Peltier’,American Indian Culture and Research Journal 23.2: 27-52. Doi:

Shanker Law Firm, PLC. 2009. ‘US Government Ignores Public Health Dangers of Sewer Water Snowmaking’, Save the Peaks Coalition. Press Release: 31 September. 

Smith, A. 2010. ‘Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy’, Global Dialogue 12.2: 1.

Snowbowl. n.d. ‘Snowbowl Vertical Files’ (media clippings). Special Collections and Archives. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

Soja, E. 1996.   Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (Malden, MA: Blackwell).

Spracklen, K. 2013. Whiteness and Leisure (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan).

Staff. 2014. ‘City of Flagstaff Approves Snowbowl Snowmaking Contract for 20 More Years’, Arizona Daily Sun, 9 August. Online:

Taylor, B.R. 2010. Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (Berkeley: University of California Press).

Tiedje, K. 2007. ‘The Promise of the Discourse of the Sacred for Conservation (and it’s Limits)’, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 1.3: 326-39. Doi:

USDA (United States, Department of Agriculture). 2005. Final Environmental Impact Statement for Arizona Snowbowl Facilities Improvement (National Forest Service. Coconino National Forest: Coconino County, Arizona). Online: Online:

Urry, J. 1990. The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage Publications).

Veblen, T. 2009. The Theory of the Leisure Class (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Veracini, L. 2008. ‘Settler Collective, Founding Violence and Disavowal: The Settler Colonial Situation’, Journal of Intercultural Studies 29.4: 363-79. Doi:

Wilson, A. 1992. ‘The View from the Road: Recreation and Tourism’, in The Culture of Nature (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell): 19-51.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy