Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Resource use
Back Home Up Next

 

Home
Land claims
Special treatment
Indian title
Native organizations
Living conditions
Resource use
Legal status
Taxes
Indian culture

6a) I've heard that after the land question is settled, native people will sell off the resources like any other developer.

Native nations are not against development, they just want it on their own terms.

Many native groups like the Nisga¹a, the Gitksan-Wet¹suwet¹en, the Nuu-chah-nulth, and the Kluskus have put forth well researched and documented plans for long-term resource development. They seek to pursue that development in partnership with the non-native community.

Every approach to development arises from attitudes and feelings for the land. For traditional native people land is not seen primarily as an economic commodity - either to reap its resources or as a medium of exchange - as in "market economies." Rather, land is a "sacred trust."

As the Cherokee anthropologist R.K. Thomas explains,

the land is alive and is filled with supernatural meaning. It is integrated in your own life. One is an integral part of that world out there. And it is personal and particular. Those items out there, that tree, isn't just a potential post for the old time Indian. That tree is God's creation, the same as you. It has a right to be growing there and to be treated with respect. Even if you chop it down for wood and take its life you know that it isn't just an object.

That fundamental attitude lies at the heart of many native groups' "environmental concern" for the land and has spawned specific claims, such as the Haida's sea claim and the concern of the Kluskus about resource extraction from the Chilcotin.

However, to assume that native concern for the environment identically mirrors that of some environmental organizations would be a mistake. Most native nations are not strictly preservationists. Development is allowed and even fostered, providing such development involves working with the land in respect, ensuring that it will continue to sustain and nourish generation after generation.