Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Note to the Reader

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pp. ix-x

Throughout the text, i use the terms Native, American Indian, and Native American to refer to the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America in what is now known as the United States. I use the term tribe interchangeably with nation to describe North American indigenous nations, reflecting the common usage of the term throughout North...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

This work is born out of an equal passion for scholarly inquiry and community commitment, which is to say that its personal significance cannot be separated from the professional endeavor that it has become. I am an enrolled Cherokee Nation tribal citizen, although I grew up in Dallas, Texas, away from the Cherokee Nation land base in northeastern Oklahoma. My Cherokee ancestors, who bore the surnames Sevier,...

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Introduction. Keepers of Knowledge: Indigenous Environmental Governance

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pp. 1-36

ᏅᏬᏘ. Nvwoti. Medicine. As someone with a working knowledge of the Cherokee language, this is the word I clung to on that mild October day, listening to two old Cherokee men speak about the plants growing on the hillside in front of us. They spoke to one another in fluent Cherokee, and I stood politely among them trying to pick up as much meaning as I could, based on my ongoing study of the language. Although I attempted...

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1. Before Removal: The Political Ecology of the Early Cherokee State

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pp. 37-56

An enduring cherokee story tells of when the animals called councils among themselves to discuss their grievances against the human beings and to determine their methods of retaliation.1 The people had grown increasingly disrespectful in their wanton killing of nonhumans, from the smallest insect to the swift deer who provided vital sustenance and clothing. The animal councils presented numerous proposals, including...

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2. Shaping New Homelands: Landscapes of Removal and Renewal

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pp. 57-82

Stories of environmental change —whether implicitly or explicitly—are often stories of changes in human interaction with the environment. Significant accounts of environmental change in recent history have involved competition between differing ideals of the human relationship with the nonhuman world (e.g., Cronon 1983; Merchant 1989). This chapter tells the story of how Cherokees developed relationships to new...

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3. The “Greening” of Oklahoma: State Power and Cherokee Resurgence after the Dust Bowl

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pp. 83-114

In her extensive article, Yaqui legal scholar Rebecca Tsosie offers an assessment of contemporary American Indian environmental management and governance. Her acute analysis of the multifarious and complex challenges American Indian nations face with regard to cultural revitalization, economic development, and environmental protection (and how all are intertwined) informs her notion of environmental...

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4. Indigenous Ethnobotany: Cherokee Medicine and the Power of Plant Lore

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pp. 115-138

“You see, it’s like approaching a wolf,” he said. “You have to get them to come to you.” This was advice a friend gave me in a conversation about how best to broach the topic of plant medicine with elders.1 He is, in fact, an elder himself, and currently he is involved closely with the elders’ advisory group, although this conversation took place three months before the first group meeting. We had been driving rural dirt roads in Adair County,...

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5. The Spirit of This Land: Terrains of Cherokee Governance

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pp. 139-170

On a cool and sunny late winter day in February of 2010, the elders’ group is gathered for their seventh meeting inside the nonprofit’s small cabin nestled in a secluded hollow. As usual, everyone has brought a variety of foods, including homemade stews, cornbread, and pies. Crosslin’s wife, Glenna (an expert of Cherokee cuisine), has brought the traditional winter comfort food,...

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Conclusion. Sovereign Landscapes: Spiritual, Material, and Political Relationships to Land

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pp. 171-182

We gathered at crosslin and Glenna’s house for the elders’ group’s tenth meeting in June 2012. Crosslin had requested that they host the meeting there so that he could perform a ceremonial blessing for the group through what he calls a “water treatment.” Cherokees have been going to water since time immemorial for purification and renewal (see Kilpatrick 1991), but nowadays Crosslin brings the water to them. That morning, I...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 183-188

I extend my deep gratitude to the many Cherokee individuals and communities that opened their doors to me and welcomed me as family. Above all, Crosslin and Glenna Smith have given me their support, friendship, and counsel, and I am humbled that they have embraced me as a grandson. I hope this book lives up to their confidence in the project and in me. I also thank their family, Cathy and Junior especially, for their...

Appendix

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pp. 189-190

Notes

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pp. 191-206

Bibliography

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pp. 207-226

Index

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pp. 227-252

About the Author

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pp. 253-253