Ecosystem Co-Management Agreements: A Study of Nation Building or a Lesson on Erosion of Tribal Sovereignty?
KeywordsIndians of North America -- Government relations
Indian reservations -- Government policy -- United States
Ecosystem management -- Government policy -- United States
Traditional ecological knowledge -- North America
Nation-building -- United States
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractThis article examines tribal sovereignty and resource management in the era of environmental self-determination through the lens of the Cornell/Kalt model of "nation building" in Indian Country. The nation building model holds that tribes can achieve self-determination by acting, thinking, being, and relating as independent, self-governing nations, regardless of whether they are recognized as such by outsiders. After setting the stage, the article looks at ecosystem management and species co-management agreements that have been initiated between tribes and federal and state agencies. In the framework of case studies, it focuses on the elements of de facto sovereignty and analyzes the success of various tribes' approaches to ecosystem comanagement It concludes that co-management agreements can offer significant benefits to Indian nations, but they can pose extraordinary challenges to tribes and are not without risks. However, if crafted correctly, these agreements can also motivate tribes to build nations.