Tribes as Trustees Again (Part I): The Emerging Tribal Role in the Conservation Trust Movement
60 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2008
This article is the first part of a two-part analysis that maps out a tribal role in the growing conservation trust movement, which uses transactional property mechanisms to achieve natural resource protection on private lands. Since conquest, tribes have been divested of their traditional “trustee” role in managing nearly all of their aboriginal territory. As a result of mismanagement by federal and state trustees, entire ecosystems are degraded or collapsing, with huge losses for Native America. Use of private property tools represents an innovative way for tribes to reclaim their environmental trustee role over ancestral lands. After describing the native environmental sovereignty effort and the conservation trust movement, this article presents four models of tribal engagement in private conservation. The article concludes by examining the uniquely positive benefits that tribes, as trustees, will bring to native people and Western conservation. Part II of this work evaluates the four models according to criteria important to both native and non-native interests.
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