Water Is Life": Using Photovoice to Document American Indian Perspectives on Water and Health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this study, tribal members from an American Indian (AI) community in the midwestern United States used photovoice, a community-based participatory method, to document their perceptions and beliefs about water and health on their reservation. The study infused photovoice's seminal theoretical influences within an environmental justice framework to explore the impact of environmental changes in water on human health and well-being. Study participants included two men and nine women who self-identified as tribal members and either worked or lived (or both) on their tribe's reservation. During the photovoice project, participants took photographs and engaged in face-to-face interviews using the SHOWeD technique to reflect on the images they had captured. An In Vivo coding method was used to code the data using participants' own words, followed by a thematic analysis to contextualize the codes within the cultural realities of the tribal community. Study findings detail how water is fundamental to the lives of the AI study participants and expose the scope of health concerns they have related to water circumstances on their reservation. The article concludes with a discussion about the use of photovoice with AI communities and implications of using the method for social work practice and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalSocial work research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • American Indians
  • environmental change
  • health
  • photovoice
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Water Is Life": Using Photovoice to Document American Indian Perspectives on Water and Health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this