American Indian Environmental Issue Essay

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Pages: 26

Reflections on Conservation, Sustainability, and Environmentalism in Indigenous North
America
Author(s): Shepard Krech III
Source: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 107, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 78-86
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3567675 .
Accessed: 18/06/2013 17:41
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SHEPARD KRECH III

on
Reflections Conservation, and Sustainability, in Environmentalism Indigenous NorthAmerica
ABSTRACT Building a range issues on of in Indian: and and in presented initiallyTheEcological Myth History, debated subsequently reviews various and this in to traditional environmental oral conservation papers, article ranges widely time address knowledge, history, and sustainability, environmentalism in Indian
I also offer and on theinvolvementNative of in large-scale
Country.
thoughts people as schemes and inthefuture. human-environment conservation, relations, development, wellas comanagement today [Keywords:
American
Indians]

THOUGHTSIN THIS
MY ideas thatI originallyARTICLEAREFRAMEDby advancedin TheEcological

Indian:Myth and History
(Krech1999) and by subsequent reactions thatwork, to ones revealing fault lines including in cultural
The printand online reaction The to politics.'
Indianis vast; it now includesover 100 reviews
Ecological
and noticesin over ten languages.As an earlyreviewer some critics brandthe workas "anti-Indian and forecast, anti-environmentalist" (Lemann 1999), even thoughneitherIndian Countrynor the environmental community cameto anyconsensus aboutthework. 2002,I addressed
In
thecritique some length(Krech pressb).2 In thisartiat in cle,I wishto expandon several pointsaboutenvironmental knowledge, and conservation, sustainability, natural.resourceissuesin contemporary
IndianCountry.
THE ECOLOGICAL INDIAN

I a First,wouldliketo offer wordortwoaboutTheEcological
Indian:Atthe book'scoreis the questionof the difference betweena noble imageof American
Indiansand de facto
American
Indian behavior.Since the early1970s, a cherishedreceived wisdomhas been thatNorth
IndiAmerican
ans werethe original and conservationists.
The
ecologists whichhas a longhistory development ofthe of out image, imageofthe "Noble Indian,"is whatI call the "Ecological
Indian."
But were American
Indians ecologistsand conservationistsin theirbehavior,as well as in this image? Imintellectual popularhistories can and and ageshave specific

be measured thus,the myth-as againsthumanbehavior; or cherished of dogma theory-andhistory the subtitle.
It was assumedthatit would be necessary develop to detailed case studies basedin evidence drawn from many as different sources possibleto throw as lighton the discrepThus,in TheEcological ancybetweenimageand behavior. the in over12,000 Indian, twoarejuxtaposed casesranging from Pleistocene the extinctions thedemiseofthe to years: beforeand after arrival the Hohokam,fromdemography of Europeans theuse offire, from huntfor to and the bufand deerto the scenein contemporary
Indian…