Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Traube

Major

Anthropology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Centered around two cases, Of Land and Law teases at the intersections of State power, indigenous politics, and wildlife management in the hopes of illuminating how the effects of colonialism continue to impact indigenous peoples, the modern American legal system, and contemporary environmental relationships. Using law as an analytic lens through which to study postcolonial relationships, this essay compares two cases in which American Indian tribal nations have been involved in wildlife management projects. The first case is that of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, who have been fighting for the last ten years to gain management of the National Bison Range in Montana. The second case involves gray wolf reintroduction in Idaho, which has been successfully managed by the Nez Perce tribe since the mid 1990s. Comparing the cases in light of postcolonial theory highlights the ways in our legal system inevitably produces ambiguous outcomes for indigenous peoples, and how there is still much room for improvement when it comes to building cooperative tribal-government relationships.

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