Sunday, February 25, 2007

the ecological indian

For a good portion of this book I found myself constantly thinking "so what?" to a lot of Krech's arguments/examples. Native Americans are humans, and as such can't be looked at as all-knowing/perfect "Gods" who never do anything that is "bad" for the environment. Also, at the same time, I felt like its hard to critique a group of people on their relationship with their environment, when our own culture is pretty destructive and wasteful of our resources today, even when information is more widely available. I didn't really particulary like my first reading of a lot of the book due mostly I guess to this negative feeling toward his arguments...but than at the end, I found I liked his epilogue and the overall summary/bigger picture he discusses in the last pages of his book. Taking a step back, I realized that he makes a good point that many Americans have associated this idea of the "ecological indian" to these people, which in many cases isn't fair, since it forces them into a separate group from the rest of us...also, I realized that I had even fallen into the "trap" of not looking carefully at the evidence of destruction caused by Native Americans because I couldn't help but to only compare them with other cultures that I deem more destructive.
One last thought on the ecological indian that I found interesting was when Krech discussed Native Americans as "frozen in this image" of the ecological indian. When Native Americans don't act as conservationists, we blame them for the destruction caused; yet for some reason the destruction we caused is not discussed/critiqued in the same way because we don't associate conservation as part of who we are. Americans tend to be very quick at generalizing and attacking other cultures/groups of people that don't do what we deem as important for the global environment; which, as Krech argues, and I agree with, is dehumanizing of these people.

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