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"What they are doing to the land they are doing to us" : environmental politics on Haida Gwaii Dean, Michael

Abstract

This paper discusses the development of Native environmental politics on Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, since the late 1970’s. During that time, concerns among the Haida about the impacts of industrial logging on their culture led to the emergence of a sustained, innovative challenge to the existing regime of resource extraction on the islands as well as the larger colonial structures on which it was premised. As a result, environmental activism became a means for the Haida to pursue decolonization outside the official channels of the land claims process. In particular this paper focuses on the conflict surrounding logging in the area of South Moresby Island culminating in the creation of the Gwaii Haanas National Park, which was the first National Park to be co-managed by the Government of Canada and an indigenous nation. By tracing the development of environmental activism on Haida Gwaii it contributes to an understanding of the ways that recent Native environmental movements have formulated indigenous identity and drawn on cultural traditions as well as their experience of colonialism. It also contributes to debates surrounding co-management and TEK by showing how the development of Haida environmental management structures occurred in conjunction with the development of a Haida environmental politics without which it would not have been capable of delivering on its liberatory promise.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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