With Ashley Smith

From battles against oil pipelines and fracking on indigenous lands, to the fight for clean fish and traditional sustenance fishing rights, to the struggle for indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous peoples around the globe are engaging in social and environmental activism. In this course we will consider how the histories of dispossession and settler colonialism inform indigenous approaches to environmental justice. We will learn about indigenous philosophies of the environment by examining indigenous creation stories and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). We will also engage the politics of indigenous environmental activism, which is haunted by the specter of the “ecologically noble Indian.” This image of the ultimate environmental savior is a caricature of indigenous peoples that, while useful in gaining support from non-Indian allies for indigenous causes, can also undermine indigenous sovereignty.

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