Environmental Romanticism: The “Protection” of Nature Perpetuates Erasures of Indigenous Existence from Their Traditional Territories

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Amanda McRae


This paper was originally written for Clifford Atleo’s Resource and Environmental Management (REM) 407: Indigenous Governance and Resource Relationships. The assignment asked students to engage with a subject of our choosing, related to any of the themes raised in class in greater depth. The paper uses the APA citation style.

The essay investigates how environmentalism of the late 20th- and early 21st-century is embedded with the sentiment of keeping the wild intact. However, this conception of the natural environment as uninhabited and wild negates Indigenous presence on the land. Thus, environmental romanticizations of nature invalidate Indigenous self-determination while authorizing erasures of Indigenous existence in their unceded traditional territories. The paper explores the themes of Indigenous resource relationships, co-management, and environmentalism through case studies in Clayoquot Sound and Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada.

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Fourth Year+ Category (90+ credits, including Honours)