RezRIDERS: A Tribally-Driven, Extreme Sport Intervention & Outcomes

  • Janice Tosa Pueblo of Jemez Department of Education
  • Greg Tafoya RezRIDERS 501c3
  • Sherwin Sando Jemez TRT Mentor
  • Estevan Sando Jemez TRT Mentor
  • Kaitlyn Yepa Jemez TRT Mentor
  • James Wiley University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  • Nina Wallerstein University of New Mexico
  • Jullie Lucero University of Nevada-Reno
Keywords: Extreme Sport, Tribally-Driven Research, Tribal Youth, Tribal Research Team, Cultural Mentors


Reducing Risk through Interpersonal Development, Empowerment, Resiliency, and Self-Determination (RezRIDERS) is a tribally-driven youth empowerment program designed to deter substance abuse and depression symptomology among high-risk American Indian youth while increasing hope/optimism, self-efficacy, and pro-social bonding. The quasi-experimental intervention took place between 2012-2015 in the Pueblo of Jemez (New Mexico, USA). The community-based program served fifty-five total youth. RezRIDERS has four major curricular components: 1) Extreme Sport activity clusters paired with; 2) Indigenized behavioral-cognitive lessons; 3) Tribal Research Team providing program oversight and cultural mentoring; and 4) Community action projects addressing youth-identified community issues. This unique program is a modern version of challenge and journeying that Indigenous people historically experienced as norms. Using qualitative and quantitative data, intervention pilot-testing assessed feasibility and efficacy of the program.


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