American Studies Environment and Native Americans Term Paper

Pages: 3 (870 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Native Americans

American Studies

Environment And Native Americans

American Indians historically have been the pioneers of environmental protection even though the true authentic image of Native American environmental ethic has been distorted in wake of romantic environmentalism, by the Hollywood. Sierra Club book on forestry says, "For many thousands of years, most of the indigenous nations on this continent practiced a philosophy of protection first and use second of the forest."(Anderson, 1997). While the History of Native American resource does not necessarily meld environmental issues with ethics. Modern environmentalists are patronizing American Indians and thereby, neglecting the lesson of their rich heritage fathering Resource Conservation. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall said, "The Indians were, in truth, the pioneer ecologists of this country."

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True that American Indians have transformed the North American landscape. But it was always out of rational response to abundance or scarcity.For instance in case of huge expanse of open land, they farmed extensively; often they would clear land for farming by cutting or burning forests; therein they would farm the fields on the huge expanse until its soil fertility exhausted. Deforestation was common from New England to Southwest, as a consequence of dense Indian population and intense farming. Historians comment that the departure of the Anasazi from the canyons of southeastern Utah in the 13th century may have been due to their having depleted the wood supplies they used for fuel. At another stance, the buffalo hunting tribes herded hundreds of animals over cliffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries on the Great Plains, and left behind tons of meat to be eaten by scavengers. This hardly goes in sync with the environmental ethic Indians are attributed to. "Samuel Hearne, a fur trader near Hudson's Bay, recorded in his journal in the 1770s that the Chipewayan Indians would slaughter large numbers of caribou and musk ox, eat only a few tongues, and leave the rest to rot"(Anderson, 1997).

TOPIC: Term Paper on American Studies Environment and Native Americans American Assignment

Hence, Indians contributed a great deal to the environment around them according to their needs provided shaping doesn't necessarily mean spoiling just as lack of modern concepts of government doesn't mean lack of rules. American Indian tribes made prolific wealth because they had clear property rights to land, fishing and hunting territories, and personal property. Pre-Columbian Indian history has evidences of property rights conditioning humans' relations with the natural environment. For instance North American Indians dependent on hunting and fishing had well-defined territories to practice wildlife conservation. Hence Indians had realized the importance of incentives and formed their societies around establishments with encouraged good human and natural resource. Private ownership also encouraged investment and production in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"American Studies Environment and Native Americans."  Essaytown.com.  October 9, 2005.  Accessed September 18, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-studies-environment-native/7203163.