river (...trans/formation ongoing...)

River Jackson-Paton, Ph.D.

9441 Folkstone Road
Dallas, TX 75220

[email protected]

introducing river…

as a person… as a coach… as a practitioner…

as an ethnoautobiographer…

~~~~~ i’ve included multiple bios from over the years to illustrate that a self is constantly in trans/formation ~~~~~

River Jackson-Paton (who uses the pronoun ‘they’) divides their time between Dallas (Comancheria), and Eagle Nest, NM (Taos Pueblo). They have actively pursued Indigenous studies, ecopsychology, and cultural/personal identity issues for nearly three decades. Since a brain injury in 2009, they have sought to narrate the thresholds between cultural politics, embodied senses of place, and fluid gender identities. River’s 2012 dissertation centered on the healing transformation of White identity as a gateway for Indigenous rights, cross-cultural reconciliation and environmental restoration. In 2014, they co-authored with Jürgen Kremer, Ethnoautobiography, an undergraduate text- and workbook for unlearning whiteness and decolonizing identities. They completed training to be a sexuality & intimacy coach. Current projects include curating a trans/disciplinary art show connecting the varied representations of self with experiences of embodiment, and creating performative expressions of ethnoautobiography specifically addressing gender, sexuality, sense of place and ancestral relationships. Additionally, River thrives on creating poetry, engendering visual art, and somatic practices. They enjoy their kids’ company, their several animals, dancing to music, live performance of all types, and being out of doors with their dear spouse. River has worked as an educator from kindergarten to graduate levels, and was production manager with California Revels. They were Managing Editor of ReVision for several years.

R Jackson-Paton lives in Dallas, Texas (Comancheria) and Eagle Nest, New Mexico (Taos Pueblo) with his beloved spouse and critters. As a descendant of predominantly English Quaker settlers, he has actively pursued Indigenous studies, ecopsychology, and White identity issues for twenty-five years. Since a brain injury in 2009, he has focused on narrating the connections and boundaries between personal and collective healing. His ethnoautobiographical dissertation published in 2012—Restor(y)ing Environmentalism: Decolonizing White Settlers in the United States: (Re)placing Posttraumatic Settler Disorder—centers on the healing transformation and decolonization of White cultural identity as a gateway for Indigenous rights, cross-cultural reconciliation and environmental restoration. He is the author of “Rituals of Inquiry; Looking for ‘Culture and Truth’” published in 2008 by ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation. He is co-author with Jürgen Kremer on a soon to be published text and workbook on ethnoautobiography, “Stories of Decolonization, Autobiography, Ethnicity”. Robert is currently getting yoga teacher certification intending to integrate somatic therapies with ethnoautobiography. Robert loves being a father, doing somatic yoga, being with animals, cooking, dancing, and being outside!

Robert Jackson-Paton lives on Ohlone land, in the San Francisco bay area, with his beloved spouse and teen-age children in a big blended family. Born in Philadelphia, and living in various different US states and foreign countries throughout his life has informed a desire to understand relationship with place more clearly. In particular, how does being a descendent of European settlers affect a sense of place?


An advanced graduate student, he has actively pursued indigenous studies, issues of culture, identity, and ecopsychology for more than two decades. Research interests include: alternative inquiry methods within the movement for holistic science inquiry, feminist and indigenous “trickster” narratives; the layers of meaning behind the stereotype of the ecologically noble savage; the cultural construction of wilderness; and, decolonization initiatives among the colonizer as well as the colonized. He is an advocate for Native rights, reparations, reconciliation, and decolonization. Dissertation research centers on decolonizing White identity as a prerequisite for indigenous rights, cross-cultural reconciliation and environmental restoration.


He loves to cook, listen to music, and be outside, especially swimming in rivers like a salmon! He has traveled to sacred sites in Europe, which forms a touchstone for his work. He has worked in elementary education for ten years, and production manager for the annual December solstice celebration in Oakland, California, the Christmas Revels.


~~~~~ visit the online practices page for information on activities similar to this ~~~~~

Feb 2009

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1968, I am the third son of parents from a long and predominantly Quaker lineage. Just before I was born, my family relocated from Algeria in order to be in the United States for my birth. Yet, I lived in Philadelphia only a short time, as my family continued to move after I was born. The first stop – at six weeks of age – was India, until I was three. Then, Greece until I was about 6 years old. Even after returning to the U.S., the moving continued: Utah, New York, California. Continuing this model, I began university in Oregon, and later spent two years in the Philippines, before finally staying put in the Bay Area for the last decade.

My relative stability is primarily due to having two teenage children who I didn’t want to drag around the world as I had been. My relationship with my kids’ mother was frequently challenging, and since the marriage ended almost as soon I moved back to the Bay area, I felt a great responsibility to remain present for my children. I have also tried to make California and the Bay Area my home, but that has not been terribly successful. I have every intention of moving once my doctoral work is complete (and my children finish high school!).

My two years of undergraduate work at Lewis & Clark (1986-88) was primarily filled with teenage angst, but I did have some important foundations laid during those times. In sociology and education, I was deeply influenced by the work of Paulo Freire. This established a strong foundation for critical thinking and cultural criticism as a basis for self-reflection and transformation. My work of naming and changing the world began there. This early formation also fostered a strong spiritual growth as I questioned aspects of my relationship with formal Christianity, and began to explore nature religions.

Once I dropped out of college, I became an environmental activist and Native rights supporter. Once again, cross-cultural understanding (and lack thereof) would influence me a great deal. I moved back to the Bay Area (where I had gone to high school) and as soon as my daughter was born in 1992, knew I had to return to college to finish my degree. Once I began in 1993, I have never had any doubt about what I wanted to do. The only doubts have been whether I would get to. Much of the last decade has been healing, grieving and separating from a bitter and painful previous marriage.

Now that I am fortunate enough to return to my postponed graduate work, I look forward to the integrative and supportive academic environment at Saybrook to complete my foundational work. I suspect that will happen in this course, and in general, as I reinforce my previous foundations of human science inquiry.

I am inspired to teach (all ages), write, and do consulting work around reconciliation: between people and people and place. I want to lead “reality tours” of people to natural areas, and have Native and non-Native people explain their relationships with those places. I want to lead, support and conduct reconciliation workshops where I help White folks account for, deal with, acknowledge and heal from the legacies of guilt, pain and trauma in family and cultural histories. I want to help young people with finding a way through the cultural and historical confusion that is prevalent and support rites of passage, whereby they are able to reconnect with themselves, the natural world and other people.

My overarching research interests include: Decolonization for Whites: healing and (re)placing masculine white consciousness; Other Ways of Knowing, or Knowing Other Ways: indigenism and alternative inquiries of self/world; and Cultural Ecology: ecopsychology and recovering relationship between culture and nature. My dissertation research will center on decolonizing White identity as a prerequisite for indigenous rights, cross-cultural reconciliation and environmental restoration.

I currently live on Ohlone land, in the San Francisco east bay, with my beloved spouse and teen-age children in a big blended family. I love to cook, listen to music, and be outside, especially swimming in rivers like a salmon! I have worked in elementary education for ten years, and am the production stage manager for the annual December solstice celebration in Oakland, California, the Christmas Revels.

curriculum vitae; or, my life’s work

Embodiment training and practice

River Guide, Private coaching practice

May 2015 to the present


Celeste Hirschman & Danielle Harel, Somatica® method, Sexuality & relationship training

April 2015 to present, San Francisco, California


Carla Rudiger & Jessica O’Keefe: Soma Labs

January 2015 to the present, Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas


Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: Embodying the nervous system in movement & consciousness

December 2014, Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas

Lisa Clark: The yoga of embodiment

September 2014, Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas

Tias Little Master Class: Healing the organs through yoga

February 2013 Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: Embodying form and flow: The limbs according to Body-Mind Centering

October 2012, Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas

200-hour Yoga teacher training

September 2012 to April 2013

Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)

Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, Texas


Healing Historic Harms: Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience

February 2012, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Taking in the good: Building Resilience into the Brain through Positive Experiences

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., January 2011, Salesmanship Club, Dallas, Texas

The Hard Things That Open the Heart: How mindfulness can nurture the brain toward healing

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. & Richard Mendius, M.D., December 2009

Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, California


Ph.D., Human Science, graduation, August 2012

Saybrook University, San Francisco, California

Ph.D. Dissertation: Restor(y)ing environmentalism: Decolonizing White settlers in the United States: (Re)placing post-traumaticsettler disorder

[Nominated for Saybrook University’s Dissertation with Distinction Award]

Chair: Jürgen W. Kremer, Ph.D.

Integrating interdisciplinary theoretical and personal narratives toward reconciling settler and Indigenous identities, and transforming Eurocentered environmental practices.


National Board Certified Teacher candidate, Early Adolescent Mathematics, Oakland Unified School District, California, 2005


Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, 2002

John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California


Bachelor of Arts, Humanities, 1994

New College of California, San Francisco, California

B.A. Thesis: The InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council: Implications of Indigenous rights and conservation strategies

Teaching experience


Guest lecture: “(Re)creating relationships: Maintaining true love amid fluid boundaries”, March 2015

Human sexuality: Susan Rahman, Ph. D., College of Marin, Kentfield, California


Guest lecture: “Ethnoautobiography and socially engaged imagination”, March 2015

Social psychology: Susan Rahman, Ph. D., College of Marin, Kentfield, California


Yoga dads: Infant-centered yoga & somatics class for new fathers and their families

October 2013 to July 2014, OmBalance, Dallas, Texas


Graduate Seminar:Restor(y)ing Environmentalism: Environmentalism as a social movement, August 2013

Saybrook University, San Francisco, California


Lead Teacher Assistant (Online component for 3-week intersessions), June 2012 to June 2013

Ethics, Values and Multiculturalism: Jürgen Kremer, Ph.D., Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California


Guest lecture: “Introducing Ethnoautobiography”, August 2011

Ethics, values and multiculturalism: Leny Strobel, Ed.D., Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California


Guest lecture: “Post-traumatic settler disorder”, August 2011

Transcultural Perspectives on Psychological Suffering and its Diagnosis: Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.

Saybrook Residential Conference, Burlingame, California

Teaching Assistant, 2007 to 2008

Introduction to Psychology: Jürgen W. Kremer, Ph.D., Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California


6th grade Math & Earth Science Core Teacher, 2001 to 2007

Montera Middle School, Oakland, California


Guest Lecture: “Ecology, Colonialism and Indigenism”, 1996

New College of California, San Francisco, California

Art and embodiment


Work of body

Preparing a trans/disciplinary art and photography show integrating representations of the body, fluid personal identities and embodiment. Works include body art (tattoos and body painting); vraukins & mannekins; hands & feet; marked by place (tattoos reflecting sense of place); embodying tenderness (terms of endearment written on bodies); multiple portraits, headshots and costumes.


Works in process


My Cadillac

Soul shattering

Flip ya lid

Cloud atlas

Ofrenda para las animalitas


~~~~~ visit my teaching & writing page for more info ~~~~~


2014. Ethnoautobiography: Stories and practices for unlearning whiteness, decolonization, uncovering ethnicity. Co-authored with Jürgen W. Kremer. ISBN 978-0-98197-066-0.

Journal Articles, refereed

2008. Rituals of Inquiry; or, Looking for ‘Culture and Truth.’ ReVision 30(1 & 2), 11-15. doi: 10.4298/REVN.30.1/2.13-17 [Jackson-Paton.2008]

Creative Writing

2011. (February). Transitions (poem). Wise Brain Bulletin 5(2), 11-12.




Manuscripts Submitted

Playing in the wild: Seven riffs on wilderness.

Environmentalism and the ghosts of White settlement: A play without actors.

Pilgrimage to shadow. (poem).

The long and the short. (poem)

Manuscripts in Preparation

Positive sex: Toward a more human sexuality (co-authored with Susan Rahman, Ph.D.)

Coming into the open (co-authored with Jenny Jackson-Paton)

Are you being served? (co-authored with Jenny Jackson-Paton)

Brain trans/formations: Mind/body, man/woman, human/nature

Coaquanok; or, “the place of the long trees”: Restorying Philadelphia.

Settlement privilege: Unpacking the invisible covered wagon.

Looking for Cynthia Ann Parker: Settling Texas, all over again.

(Not) being White: A decolonization reader and workbook.

Unsettling post-traumatic settler dis-ease: Toward an in-process definition.

Riffs of remembrance: Trauma, Place, Embodiment, Healing.

Unpublished manuscripts

(Not) being White: Decolonizing post-traumatic settler disorder. Unpublished doctoral candidacy essay. San Francisco: Saybrook University. 2010. [Nominated for Saybrook University essay award].

Playing in the wild: Whiteness and the environmental shadow. Unpublished doctoral candidacy essay. San Francisco: Saybrook University. 2010.

Additional published articles

1997 (Summer). Indigenous Peoples Fight Park Service in the US. Cultural Survival Quarterly 21(2), 7.

1996 (Summer). Desert Protection or Indian Removal? Federal Agencies Stonewall Timbisha Shoshone Over Trust Land in Death Valley. News From Native California 9(4), 55-6. (Berkeley, California).

1995a (July). Of Wolves and Native People. Terrain 25(7), 13. (Berkeley, California).

1995b (July 19). Agencies Unite for tribal land search. Inyo Register, A1. (Bishop, California).

1995c (May 11). California Desert Protection Act puts Shoshone back into park. Indian Country Today, A1. (Rapid City, South Dakota)

1995d (Spring). Back into the Park: California Desert Protection Act offers hope to Timbisha Shoshone. News From Native California 8(4), 50. (Berkeley, California).

1995e (Spring). Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. Cultural Survival Quarterly19(1), 5.

1994 (July). The Circle of Stereotypes: Indigenous Peoples, ‘Wildlife,’ and Walt Disney’s The Lion King.Terrain  24(8), 16. (Berkeley, California).

1989 (Summer). Sacred Earth Denounces Desecration. Portland Free Press 1(3), 3. (Portland, Oregon).

Conference presentations


Ethnoautobiography as Integrative Pedagogy      April 2014

in the Discourse on Race, Class, and Gender

Co-presented with Jürgen Kremer, Leny Strobel, Crete Brown, Susan Rahman

Ethnic Studies Association Conference, Oakland, California


Moving through Whiteness: A performance          September 2013

Critical Ethnic Studies Association, University of Illinois, Chicago


Locating our selves amidst the wealth:      April 2013

Creative approaches to intersectionality for personal and social transformation

Co-presented with Susan Rahman, M.A.

White Privilege Conference, Seattle, Washington


In the shadow of Chief Seattle:      April 2013

Reclaiming environmentalism from the ghosts of white settlement

White Privilege Conference, Seattle, Washington


Unlearning Colonial Environmentalism      April 2013

Native Science: Dimensions & Dialogues, Pitzer College, Claremont, California


Facing Collective Shadows:    March 2012

Accounting for and Healing from White Settlement (Full day institute)

White Privilege Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Settlement Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Covered Wagon    March 2012

White Privilege Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Setting the table: Decolonizing White settler identity      April 2011

White Privilege Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota


On Reconciliation October 2008

Peace and Justice Studies Association conference, Portland, Oregon


Rituals of reconciliation:          September 2008

Three gifts toward healing ceremonies in settler societies

Conference on the Study of Shamanism, San Rafael, California


Parks with people: 1996

The Timbisha Shoshone and Death Valley National Park: Transforming ecocolonialism

California Indian Conference, Berkeley, California


Conference and workshop participation

Colonization Privilege and Resistance: Preparing for Justice GA 2012, February 2012

Unitarian Universalist Allies for Racial Equity Annual Conference, Fort Worth, Texas


International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 2008

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Language of Spirit Conference, August 2008, Albuquerque, New Mexico


White Privilege Conference, April 2008, Springfield, Massachusetts


New Directions in Ecological Leadership Workshop, 1996

Boulder Institute for a Sustainable Future, Boulder, Colorado


Collective Silence and Psychological Healing Workshop, 1996

Jürgen Kremer, PhD California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California


Tribal Knowledge for Euro-Americans Workshop, 1996

California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California


Indigenous Peoples Politics Workshop, 1993

Mark Sills, University of Colorado, Denver


International Indigenous Movement Workshop, 1989

Dian Million, Portland, Oregon 

Community events

Equality testimony worship sharing, February 2012, Co-facilitator at Dallas Quaker Meeting

Peace testimony worship sharing, May 2011, Co-facilitator at Dallas Quaker Meeting

Research interests and experience

Cross-cultural environmental studies, Indigenous and cultural studies, philosophies of inquiry and autobiography, transformative learning

Dissertation Research: Southern Plains, United States,  2011: “Making Space for the Ghosts of Settlement: From Palo Duro Canyon to Sand Creek.”


Field Research: England and Ireland1998: “Cultural Geography of Ancient Sites.”


Field Research: Philippines1997 to 1998: “William Henry Scott: An American Scholar in Sagada, Mt. Province.”


Final Report, 1997, Unlearning colonial environmentalism: Supporting Timbisha traditional knowledge. Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley, California. Seventh Generation Fund, Environment Program.


Field research: Scandinavia, 1996: “Rock Carvings and Indigenous Peoples in Scandinavia.”

Additional professional experience

Managing Editor, 2008 to present: ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation

Board of Directors, 2003 to present, Consensus Classroom, Inc.

Math Professional Development Institute, 2002 to 2003, University of California, Berkeley


Grant funding

Seventh Generation Fund, Environment Program, 1996 to 1997

Unlearning Colonial Environmentalism: Supporting Timbisha Traditional Knowledge, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley, California, $2,000

Additional context

Production stage manager, 2004 to 2009: California Revels, Oakland, California.

Cook, Whole Foods Market, 2007: Oakland, California.

Member of Dallas Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Parent of 23 and 21-year-old children.

Avid outdoor enthusiast and somatic yoga practitioner.

contact river

6 + 5 =

River Jackson-Paton, Ph.D.

9441 Folkstone Road
Dallas, TX 75220

[email protected]