Special Issue "Global Indigeneities and the Environment"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2015).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Karen L Thornber Website E-Mail
Professor of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Phone: 617-496-6244
Interests: world literature; comparative literature; global history; global indigeneities
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tom Havens Website E-Mail
Professor of History, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Phone: (617) 373-8178
Interests: The history of botanical sciences in Japan and the diffusion of Japanese and East Asian plant species to the world since the nineteenth century

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global Indigeneities and the Environment—covering fields from American Indian Studies, anthropology, communications, ethnoecology, ethnomusicology, geography, global studies, history, and literature, the purpose of the Special Issue is to give new understandings of the concept of global indigeneities and to showcase some of the most promising work in the field to date.

Prof. Dr. Karen L Thornber
Prof. Dr. Tom Havens
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • cultivation practices
  • plant renewal
  • environmental justice
  • global environmentalism
  • memory trees
  • indigenous ecotourism
  • ecopoetry
  • ethnomusicology
  • knowledge situatedness
  • extreme extraction
  • ecocriticism

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Humanistic Environmental Studies and Global Indigeneities
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030052 - 15 Jul 2016
Abstract
The Environmental Humanities constitute an emerging transdisciplinary enterprise that is becoming a key part of the liberal arts and an indispensable component of the twenty-first-century university.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cartographies of the Voice: Storying the Land as Survivance in Native American Oral Traditions
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030062 - 15 Jul 2016
Abstract
This article examines how Native places are made, named, and reconstructed after colonization through storytelling. Storying the land is a process whereby the land is invested with the moral and spiritual perspectives specific to Native American communities. As seen in the oral traditions [...] Read more.
This article examines how Native places are made, named, and reconstructed after colonization through storytelling. Storying the land is a process whereby the land is invested with the moral and spiritual perspectives specific to Native American communities. As seen in the oral traditions and written literature of Native American storytellers and authors, the voices of indigenous people retrace and remap cartographies for the land after colonization through storytelling. This article shows that the Americas were storied by Native American communities long before colonial contact beginning in the fifteenth century and demonstrates how the land continues to be storied in the present as a method of decolonization and cultural survivance. The article examines manifestations of the oral tradition in multiple forms, including poetry, interviews, fiction, photography, and film, to demonstrate that the land itself, through storytelling, becomes a repository of the oral tradition. The article investigates oral narratives from precontact and postcolonial time periods and across numerous nations and geographical regions in the Americas, including stories from the Mayan Popol Vuh; Algonkian; Western Apache; Hopi; Haudenosaunee/Iroquois; and Laguna Pueblo stories; and the contemporary poetry and fiction of Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Morrku Mangawu—Knowledge on the Land: Mobilising Yolŋu Mathematics from Bawaka, North East Arnhem Land, to Reveal the Situatedness of All Knowledges
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030061 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Yolŋu mathematics refers to the complex matrix of patterns, relationships, shapes, motions and rhythms of time and space that underpin the ways that Yolŋu people, Indigenous people of North East Arnhem Land in northern Australia, nourish and are nourished by their environments. Through [...] Read more.
Yolŋu mathematics refers to the complex matrix of patterns, relationships, shapes, motions and rhythms of time and space that underpin the ways that Yolŋu people, Indigenous people of North East Arnhem Land in northern Australia, nourish and are nourished by their environments. Through its fundamental reliance on human and more-than-human connectivity and situatedness, Yolŋu people mobilise the concept of Yolŋu mathematics to challenge Western knowledges, including Western ideas of mathematics and environment. This paper discusses Yolŋu mathematics and the relationships between humans and more-than-humans, which co-produce a world that is living and interconnected, and which reveals all knowledge as situated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Saving the Other Amazon: Changing Understandings of Nature and Wilderness among Indigenous Leaders in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030060 - 15 Jul 2016
Abstract
This article examines a new set of policies embraced by indigenous leaders in the Upper Napo region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, driven, in part, by a growing appreciation for “wilderness” —large areas where humans exercise a very light touch. In the past few [...] Read more.
This article examines a new set of policies embraced by indigenous leaders in the Upper Napo region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, driven, in part, by a growing appreciation for “wilderness” —large areas where humans exercise a very light touch. In the past few years, leaders have pursued wilderness conservation initiatives while simultaneously promoting petroleum extraction in their own backyards. Both political positions run counter to those pursued in previous decades, when opposition to both oil development and strict forms of conservation within their territory was strong. To address this reversal, I trace some of the development interventions and North-South collaborations that have contributed to the emergence of “nature” as a meaningful imaginary for Amazonian indigenous leaders and for a new generation of young people, drawing connections to William Cronon’s critical analysis of how wilderness conservation became a priority in the United States. I conclude that more than two decades of conservationist interventions in the Upper Napo region have led to some largely unintended consequences, as Amazonian leaders increasingly subscribe to Northern environmentalists’ romanticization of “the Amazon” as a wild place, one that therefore must be distant from the places where they work and live. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Signifying Ainu Space: Reimagining Shiretoko’s Landscapes through Indigenous Ecotourism1
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030059 - 15 Jul 2016
Abstract
Recognized as Japan’s indigenous peoples in 2008, the Ainu people of Hokkaido have sought to recuperate land and self-determination by physically reenacting Ainu traditional knowledge through ecotourism in Hokkaido. Colonization and assimilation have severed most contemporary Ainu from relations with nonhuman sentient beings [...] Read more.
Recognized as Japan’s indigenous peoples in 2008, the Ainu people of Hokkaido have sought to recuperate land and self-determination by physically reenacting Ainu traditional knowledge through ecotourism in Hokkaido. Colonization and assimilation have severed most contemporary Ainu from relations with nonhuman sentient beings (A. kamuy) rooted in land and waterways. Ecotourism provides a context for reenacting an ancestral ontology through engaging in wild food gathering, relearning subsistence practices for cultural transmission, and reinscribing Ainu cultural logics onto the land through stewardship and language. At the same time, the Japanese government’s campaign to have Siretok nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site can be interpreted as an attempt to legitimate Japanese claims to Shiretoko and reinscribe the authority of Japan, as both the proper steward to ensure responsible conservation of Shiretoko but also the rightful owner and proper occupant of the promontory and its surrounding waterways. The article reveals how Ainu attempts to establish relationships and assert ancestral claims with the kamuy in the landscape are stymied by the ongoing reality of settler colonialism and erasure of Ainu presence in the landscape. Further, it explores how a capitalist-driven economy of ecotourism unleashes new dynamics in relations between local Ainu fishers and farmers in Shiretoko and outsider Ainu who seek to develop ecotourist initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
The White Mountain Recreational Enterprise: Bio-Political Foundations for White Mountain Apache Natural Resource Control, 1945–1960
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030058 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Among American Indian nations, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has been at the forefront of a struggle to control natural resource management within reservation boundaries. In 1952, they developed the first comprehensive tribal natural resource management program, the White Mountain Recreational Enterprise (WMRE), [...] Read more.
Among American Indian nations, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has been at the forefront of a struggle to control natural resource management within reservation boundaries. In 1952, they developed the first comprehensive tribal natural resource management program, the White Mountain Recreational Enterprise (WMRE), which became a cornerstone for fighting legal battles over the tribe’s right to manage cultural and natural resources on the reservation for the benefit of the tribal community rather than outside interests. This article examines how White Mountain Apaches used the WMRE, while embracing both Euro-American and Apache traditions, as an institutional foundation for resistance and exchange with Euro-American society so as to reassert control over tribal eco-cultural resources in east-central Arizona. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
“Indigenizing” Food Sovereignty. Revitalizing Indigenous Food Practices and Ecological Knowledges in Canada and the United States
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030057 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
The food sovereignty movement initiated in 1996 by a transnational organization of peasants, La Via Campesina, representing 148 organizations from 69 countries, became central to self-determination and decolonial mobilization embodied by Indigenous peoples throughout the world. Utilizing the framework of decolonization and sustainable [...] Read more.
The food sovereignty movement initiated in 1996 by a transnational organization of peasants, La Via Campesina, representing 148 organizations from 69 countries, became central to self-determination and decolonial mobilization embodied by Indigenous peoples throughout the world. Utilizing the framework of decolonization and sustainable self-determination, this article analyzes the concept of food sovereignty to articulate an understanding of its potential for action in revitalizing Indigenous food practices and ecological knowledge in the United States and Canada. The food sovereignty movement challenged the hegemony of the globalized, neoliberal, industrial, capital-intensive, corporate-led model of agriculture that created destructive economic policies that marginalized small-scale farmers, removed them from their land, and forced them into the global market economy as wage laborers. Framed within a larger rights discourse, the food sovereignty movement called for the right of all peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food and the right to define their own food and agricultural systems. “Indigenizing” food sovereignty moves beyond a rights based discourse by emphasizing the cultural responsibilities and relationships Indigenous peoples have with their environment and the efforts being made by Indigenous communities to restore these relationships through the revitalization of Indigenous foods and ecological knowledge systems as they assert control over their own foods and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
The Movement, the Mine and the Lake: New Forms of Maya Activism in Neoliberal Guatemala
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030056 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article explores the social, economic, cultural and political issues bound up in two matters relating to the environment in the Sololá and Lake Atitlán region of the Guatemalan Mayan highlands in 2004–2005: the violent breakup of an anti-mine protest and the various [...] Read more.
This article explores the social, economic, cultural and political issues bound up in two matters relating to the environment in the Sololá and Lake Atitlán region of the Guatemalan Mayan highlands in 2004–2005: the violent breakup of an anti-mine protest and the various reactions to a tropical storm that threatened the lake ecosystem. It views these events as part of a historical conjuncture and centers them in a larger discussion of Maya political activism, environmentalism and neoliberal development in Guatemala from the 1990s–mid-2010s. It begins with the transition from war to peace in the 1990s, charting how Maya participation in municipal politics soared even as the official Mayan movement waned as the state turned to neoliberalism. Zooming in on municipal development and politics in Sololá in the early 2000s, it then traces at the ground level how a decentralizing, “multicultural” state promoted political participation while at the same time undermining the possibility for that participation to bring about substantive change. The center of the article delves deeper into the conjuncture of the first decade of the new millennium. By mapping events in Sololá against development, agrarian transformation and rural urbanization, it argues that resilient Maya community structures, although unable to stop the exploitative tide, continued to provide local cohesion and advocacy. Activists and everyday citizens became more globally attuned in the 2000s. The article’s final section analyzes municipal plans made between 2007 and 2012, arguing that creating and controlling community structures became increasingly important to the state in a time when Guatemala’s “outward” global turn was accompanied by an “inward” turn as people confronted spiraling violence in their communities. Critics called young people apolitical, but in 2015, massive demonstrations led to the imprisonment of the nation’s president and vice-president, showing that there is a chapter of Guatemala’s history of activism yet to be written. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Indigenous ExtrACTIVISM in Boreal Canada: Colonial Legacies, Contemporary Struggles and Sovereign Futures
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030055 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
This article approaches contemporary extractivism as an environmentally and socially destructive extension of an enduring colonial societal structure. Manifested in massive hydroelectric developments, clearcut logging, mining, and unconventional oil and gas production, extractivism removes natural resources from their points of origin and dislocates [...] Read more.
This article approaches contemporary extractivism as an environmentally and socially destructive extension of an enduring colonial societal structure. Manifested in massive hydroelectric developments, clearcut logging, mining, and unconventional oil and gas production, extractivism removes natural resources from their points of origin and dislocates the emplaced benefits they provide. Because externally imposed resource extraction threatens Indigenous peoples’ land-based self-determination, industrial sites often become contested, politicized landscapes. Consequently, I also illuminate the struggles of those who strive to turn dreams for sovereign futures into reality through extrACTIVIST resistance to extractivist schemes. Presenting four case synopses—from across Canada’s boreal forest and spanning a broad range of extractive undertakings—that highlight both sides of the extractivism/ACTIVISM formulation, this article exposes the political roots of resource-related conflicts and contributes to an emerging comparative political ecology of settler colonialism. While extractivism’s environmental effects are immediate and arresting, these physical transformations have significant cultural consequences that are underlain by profound political inequities. I ultimately suggest that because extractivism is colonial in its causal logic, effective opposition cannot emerge from environmentalism alone, but will instead arise from movements that pose systemic challenges to conjoined processes of social, economic, and environmental injustice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
China’s Indigenous Peoples? How Global Environmentalism Unintentionally Smuggled the Notion of Indigeneity into China
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030054 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article explores how global environmental organizations unintentionally fostered the notion of indigenous people and rights in a country that officially opposed these concepts. In the 1990s, Beijing declared itself a supporter of indigenous rights elsewhere, but asserted that, unlike the Americas and [...] Read more.
This article explores how global environmental organizations unintentionally fostered the notion of indigenous people and rights in a country that officially opposed these concepts. In the 1990s, Beijing declared itself a supporter of indigenous rights elsewhere, but asserted that, unlike the Americas and Australia, China had no indigenous people. Instead, China described itself as a land of “ethnic minority” groups, not indigenous groups. In some sense, the state’s declaration appeared effective, as none of these ethnic minority groups launched significant grassroots efforts to align themselves with the international indigenous rights movement. At the same time, as international environmental groups increased in number and strength in 1990s China, their policies were undergoing significant transformations to more explicitly support indigenous people. This article examines how this challenging situation arose, and discusses the unintended consequences after a major environmental organization, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), carried out a project using the language of indigeneity in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
The Double Binds of Indigeneity and Indigenous Resistance
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5030053 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
During the twentieth century, indigenous peoples have often embraced the category of indigenous while also having to face the ambiguities and limitations of this concept. Indigeneity, whether represented by indigenous people themselves or others, tends to face a “double bind”, as defined by [...] Read more.
During the twentieth century, indigenous peoples have often embraced the category of indigenous while also having to face the ambiguities and limitations of this concept. Indigeneity, whether represented by indigenous people themselves or others, tends to face a “double bind”, as defined by Gregory Bateson, in which “no matter what a person does, he can’t win.” One exit strategy suggested by Bateson is meta-communication—communication about communication—in which new solutions emerge from a questioning of system-internal assumptions. We offer case studies from Ecuador, Peru and Alaska that chart some recent indigenous experiences and strategies for such scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
“No More Boomerang”: Environment and Technology in Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Poetry
Humanities 2015, 4(4), 938-957; https://doi.org/10.3390/h4040938 - 09 Dec 2015
Abstract
Based in oral traditions and song cycles, contemporary Aboriginal Australian poetry is full of allusions to the environment. Not merely a physical backdrop for human activities, the ancient Aboriginal landscape is a nexus of ecological, spiritual, material, and more-than-human overlays—and one which is [...] Read more.
Based in oral traditions and song cycles, contemporary Aboriginal Australian poetry is full of allusions to the environment. Not merely a physical backdrop for human activities, the ancient Aboriginal landscape is a nexus of ecological, spiritual, material, and more-than-human overlays—and one which is increasingly compromised by modern technological impositions. In literary studies, while Aboriginal poetry has become the subject of critical interest, few studies have foregrounded the interconnections between environment and technology. Instead, scholarship tends to focus on the socio-political and cultural dimensions of the writing. How have contemporary Australian Aboriginal poets responded to the impacts of environmental change and degradation? How have poets addressed the effects of modern technology in ancestral environments, or country? This article will develop an ecocritical and technology-focused perspective on contemporary Aboriginal poetry through an analysis of the writings of three significant literary-activists: Jack Davis (1917–2000), Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920–1993), and Lionel Fogarty (born 1958). Davis, Noonuccal, and Fogarty strive poetically to draw critical attention to the particular impacts of late modernist technologies on Aboriginal people and country. In developing a critique of invasive technologies that adversely affect the environment and culture, their poetry also invokes the Aboriginal technologies that sustained (and, in places, still sustain) people in reciprocal relation to country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment) Printed Edition available
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