Native Americans and the Environment


Native Americans and the Environment

Perspectives on the Ecological Indian

Edited and with an introduction by Michael E. Harkin and David Rich Lewis
Foreword by Judith Antell
Preface by Brian Hosmer
Afterword by Shepard Krech III

370 pages
3 figures, 3 tables, index


March 2007


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Native Americans and the Environment brings together an interdisciplinary group of prominent scholars whose works continue and complicate the conversations that Shepard Krech started in The Ecological Indian. Hailed as a masterful synthesis and yet assailed as a problematic political tract, Shepard Krech’s work prompted significant discussions in scholarly communities and among Native Americans.
Rather than provide an explicit assessment of Krech’s thesis, the contributors to this volume explore related historical and contemporary themes and subjects involving Native Americans and the environment, reflecting their own research and experience. At the same time, they also assess the larger issue of representation. The essays examine topics as divergent as Pleistocene extinctions and the problem of storing nuclear waste on modern reservations. They also address the image of the “ecological Indian” and its use in natural history displays alongside a consideration of the utility and consequences of employing such a powerful stereotype for political purposes. The nature and evolution of traditional ecological knowledge is examined, as is the divergence between belief and practice in Native resource management. Geographically, the focus extends from the eastern Subarctic to the Northwest Coast, from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains to the Great Basin.

Author Bio

Michael E. Harkin is a professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming and the editor of Reassessing Revitalization Movements: Perspectives from North America and the Pacific Islands (Nebraska 2004) and the journal Ethnohistory. David Rich Lewis is a professor of history at Utah State University, the editor of Western Historical Quarterly, and the author of Neither Wolf nor Dog: American Indians, Environment and Agrarian Change.--Judith Antell is the director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. Brian Hosmer is the director of the Newberry Library D’Arcy McNickel Center for American Indian History. Shepard Krech III is a professor of anthropology and environmental studies and the director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University.
Contributors: Judith Antell, Sebastian F. Braun, Ernest S. Burch Jr., John Dorst, Harvey A. Feit, Dan Flores, Michael E. Harkin, Brian Hosmer, Robert L. Kelly, Shepard Krech III, Stephen J. Langdon, David Rich Lewis, Larry Nesper, Mary M. Prasciunas, Darren J. Ranco, and James H. Schlender.


“This excellent anthology features 12 articles originally presented at the 2002 conference ‘Re-figuring the Ecological Indian.’ Of uniformly high quality, the essays respond to Shepard Krech’s The Ecological Indian . . . while furthering discussion of historical and contemporary ideas about Native people as ecologists and conservationists. . . . Harkin and Lewis provide an erudite introduction elucidating the complex issues involved in the discussion. . . . This volume provides an important contribution to a critical, ongoing debate.”—CHOICE

"Because of its deliberate interdisciplinary approach, Native Americans and the Environment with appeal to a wide variety of academics and those who appreciate bona fide intellectual exchange. Yet this book also contributes important commentary on contemporary environmental and resource management debates. Its timeliness adds to its appeal."—Elizabeth James, Alaska History

“This book provides a balanced perspective on the history of resource use and the social and political pressures that affected resource use in the past and continue to affect use in the present.”—Susan C. Ryan, Journal of American Ethnic History

“This is a valuable collection with many carefully documented analyses that speak to the complex and often ambiguous details of Native American environmental relationships, past and present.”—Eugene S. Hunn, Western Historical Quarterly

“This book will be valuable for anthropologists, historians, educators, resource managers, and the general public interested in learning about Native Americans have been, and are still, front and center in using and managing their environments. . . . Each stand-alone essay is a fascinating look at the state of the debate on Native Americans and their environments.”—Great Plains Research

"Harkin and Lewis's book is a thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of these issues which will be profitably read by anyone interested in environmental anthropology, Native North America, Indian-European relations, and cultural identity."—Robert Jarvenpa, Anthropos

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