The purpose of this course is to provide students with a solid understanding of how crucial the management of natural resources is to indigenous communities. In addition it will allow students to focus on case studies and philosophical principles that compare management techniques derived from European based science with those derived from the cultural traditions and beliefs of indigenous peoples and communities. This should help students develop a knowledge base that will assist them in future work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and cultural practices, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and improving the relations among various groups and institutions.
Natural resource management has traditionally been considered as an applied aspect of the western scientific tradition. Many reserves, reservations, or homelands are located in areas rich in natural resources, which could provide a culturally appropriate basis for developing tribal economies in the modern world, however, in most cases resource managers on indigenous homelands are non-indigenous and have little or no appreciation of indigenous perspectives and attitudes to how resources, especially living resources such as forests, lakes, streams, and grasslands should be treated from an indigenous point of view. This course will emphasize how indigenous knowledge and attitudes could influence resource management. We will deal with five categories case studies detailing how resources are managed in various indigenous communities. These will include 1) Fishing Rights and Issues, including Anishinaabe fishing rights in the northern US, and Practices of salmon use and management by Indigenous peoples of Northwestern North America, 2) Traditional knowledge based forestry and grazing management practices, 3) Water rights with specific reference and the Shoshone and Arapaho peoples on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, 4) Co-management and Wildlife with particular emphasis on the Kluane First Nation of the Yukon and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, and 5) Aboriginal Whaling with emphasis on the Makah People of Washington State and the Inuit/Inupiat and Bowhead whales.
Emphasis on these cases serves two primary functions: 1) Allowing students to understand how Indigenous Knowledge is a powerful and productive way of understanding the world, 2) Empowering indigenous students to stand up for themselves and their traditions both in their own research and in the academic environment.