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Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment in Africa and North America

David M. Gordon, Shepard Krech

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

A suggestion from Lance van Sittert inspired the conference “Indigenous Environments: African and North American Environmental Knowledge and Practices Compared,” upon which this volume is based. During and after the...

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Introduction: Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment

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pp. 1-24

“Indigenous knowledge ” excites and infuriates. One of its leading academic proponents and critics, Michael Dove, argues that its conceptual space has evolved from “innovative tool to hackneyed dichotomy.”1 Historians and anthropologists...

Part I: Middle Ground

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pp. 25-109

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Chapter 1: Looking Like a White Man: Geopolitical Strategies of the Iowa Indians during American Incorporation

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pp. 27-52

In the winter of 2007, ninety-one thousand people visited an innovative exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago that explored the history of maps and mapping around the world. Midway through the exhibition, these visitors would have come across...

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Chapter 2: On Biomedicine, Transfers of Knowledge, and MalariaTreatments in Eastern North America and Tropical Africa

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pp. 53-68

During the early years of the “Columbian Exchange,” malaria parasites crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the bloodstreams of European colonists and African captives. In the Americas, anopheline mosquitoes took blood meals from these immigrants...

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Chapter 3: Indigenous Ethnoornithology in the American South

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pp. 69-93

Given the global encounter, past and continuing, between indigenous and nonindigenous people, as well as the importance of comprehending human-environmental relations, it is critical to understand the extent to which the ideas...

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Chapter 4: Nation-Building Knowledge: Dutch Indigenous Knowledge and the Invention of White South Africanism, 1890–1909

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pp. 94-109

Recent scholarship has strongly argued that “science,” by providing “objective” knowledge to inform state policy, played a significant role in the invention of a settler nation-state in South Africa both before and after 1910. This argument...

Part II: Conflict

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pp. 111-170

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Chapter 5: Locust Invasions and Tensions over Environmental and Bodily Health in the Colonial Transkei

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pp. 113-128

The 1890s witnessed an unusually destructive invasion of locusts in many parts of South Africa. In the Eastern Cape a series of locust swarms wreaked havoc on agricultural production by both European and African farmers alike. In the recently...

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Chapter 6: Navajos, New Dealers, and the Metaphysics of Nature

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pp. 129-150

“The talk about grazing conditions was not true,” asserted Frank Goldtooth in the early 1970s. “There was plenty of vegetation and water. The ranges and valleys were covered with tall grass and beautiful flowers.” The elderly...

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Chapter 7: Cherokee Medicine and the 1824 Smallpox Epidemic

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pp. 151-170

In June 1824, an alarming message came to Cherokees and Christian missionaries residing at Springplace, a Moravian boarding school in northern Georgia. Smallpox had struck communities in western North Carolina. Both Cherokees...

Part III: Environmental Religion

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pp. 171-239

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Chapter 8: Spirit of the Salmon: Native Religion, Rights, and Resource Use in the Columbia River Basin

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pp. 173-195

In early April, the residents of Celilo Village hold a salmon feast to welcome the returning runs of spring chinook and thank them for their imminent sacrifice. The annual event draws hundreds of visitors to the tiny Indian community in the Columbia...

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Chapter 9: Indigenous Spirits: Ancestral Power in a South-Central African Kingdom

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pp. 196-215

In south-central Africa, conquerors, settlers, and indigenes proclaimed that ancestral spirits were responsible for agricultural prosperity and human fertility. These spiritual qualities of indigenous knowledge are often imagined...

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Chapter 10: Recruiting Nature: Snakes, Serpents, and Social Movements in East Africa and North America

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pp. 216-239

Snakes and serpents make symbols for expressing hope or dread, and symbols make movements of religious reform and of social and political rebellion. Now and then in eastern Africa, snakes, birds, and other animals...

Part IV: Resource Rights

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Chapter 11: Marine Tenure of the Makahs

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pp. 243-258

Traditional scholarship on American Indian tenure remains limited to examining the relationship of a particular tribe to its land and related resources. These studies often explore how land is the foundation of tribal identity, explaining...

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Chapter 12: Reinventing “Traditional” Medicine in Postapartheid South Africa

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pp. 259-286

In August 2004, South Africa officially recognized its “indigenous” medical system and the practice of traditional healers.1 After years of being criminalized under white minority rule and largely condemned by the biomedical community...

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Chapter 13: Dilemmas of “Indigenous Tenure” in South Africa: Traditional Authorities and the Constitutional Challenge to the 2004 Communal Land Rights Act

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pp. 287-306

The notion of “indigenous tenure” poses challenges in South Africa. Transformations under colonialism and white rule and questions about the compatibility of hereditary leadership and democracy make the identification and legal recognition...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 307-315


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pp. 317


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pp. 319-335

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444115

Publication Year: 2012