Ecological Jurisprudence and Indigenous Relational Ontologies: Beyond the ‘Ecological Indian’?
Kirsten Anker, Peter D. Burdon, Geoffrey Garver, Michelle Maloney, and Carla Sbert (eds), From Environmental to Ecological Law (London: Routledge, 2020)
24 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020
Date Written: June 2, 2020
A turn to Indigeneity is a common and welcome theme in foundational texts and moments in the development of ecological law. Nevertheless, this chapter examines the risk of falling into archetypes or myths of the “ecological Indian.” In tracking the debate about sustainability and conservation in ethnobiology, the chapter challenges scholars and proponents of ecological law to engage with Indigenous knowledges in a way that embeds knowledges in the polities and legal orders of Indigenous peoples and is sensitive to the complexities of the cosmopolitics involved in negotiating understanding and action across different life-worlds. This certainly means contending with the colonial context in which Indigenous knowledge in relation to “the environment” emerges, and situating Indigenous peoples themselves as key actors in the move to ecological law; it may also mean questioning or re-calibrating what it means to be ecocentric, to respect all life forms or to be interconnected with them.
Keywords: Ecological Law, Indigenous Ontologies, Conservation, TEK, Lifeworlds, Stereotypes
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