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Freeflow Scholar


Help sponsor Indigenous participation for Chris La Tray’s “Mino-bimaadiziwin: The Good Life” workshop on the Main Salmon River in June 2024, with the Freeflow Institute.

Chickadee Community Services aimed to raise $7000 to sponsor two Indigenous student adventurers to attend Chris La Tray's transformative experience and thanks to donors, we crushed our goal.


If you still wish to donate to Chickadee for future endeavors, please click the button below.

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From Chris


I have been facilitating writing workshops with the Freeflow Institute since 2019. The Freeflow Institute “curates immersive outdoor learning experiences in Earth’s wildest classrooms – for all people, of all backgrounds. We help humans connect to places, to one another, and to the truest forms of their work and art.” They live up to their mission, and it has been my pleasure to facilitate workshops three times on the Blackfoot River and one on the Missouri River. Every trip has been uplifting in ways only outdoor experiences can be.


However, last winter I facilitated a workshop that rewired how I want to approach every workshop I take on in the future. Over the Winter Solstice in 2023 I led a gathering called “Good Ancestors” at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Forever, the nonprofit education arm of Yellowstone National Park, and sponsor of the workshop, provided a dozen free scholarships for Indigenous students and educators to attend. In other words, these participants did not have to pay for the workshop, they merely had to get there on their own and bring their own food, same as non-scholarship people. The resulting experience was unlike any workshop I have ever had. As an Indigenous person myself, I am rarely joined by more than one of my Native relatives and am often the only one. Being surrounded by Indigenous people was certainly part of the profundity of the experience, but having a group of people there who generally lack the means to attend such things was also a contributing factor. There was so much gratitude and enthusiasm! Sadly, as outfitting costs rise, outdoor experiences like this are moving farther and farther into the realm of accessibility only to the privileged. This is tragic and it is something those of us working in the arena need to address.


Which brings me to this scholarship. Freeflow offers scholarships of their own already and I am grateful for that; they are committed to providing free and discounted opportunities for attendees through their own Freeflow Foundation. However, as a much smaller organization than the likes of Yellowstone Forever, and with the rising costs of outfitting river experiences, Freeflow isn’t in a position to sponsor an entire trip the way Yellowstone Forever did. Generally there is only room for twelve people on these trips. I would like to have as many of those seats filled with Indigenous folks so that they can have opportunities generally unavailable to them, with no strings attached, and I approached CCS to assist because their mission and values mirror mine. I am focused on Indigenous people because I am Indigenous and I want to dedicate my efforts to providing opportunities for my people. I want more of us back on the water, to be transformed by the river, and the landscapes, and the deep interactions with other committed and creative and thoughtful people, and then go back out into the world motivated to make changes in it. Just as I have been. The world is the original storyteller and our original teacher, and too many of us have forgotten how to pay attention. I want more people to have a chance to listen again.

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