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AllOur Relations: Narrative Struggles for Land and Life

Inthis book the author, LaDuke Winona, provides the reader with a closeoverview of what the Indians are involved in as they try to restoretheir culture and the ecosystem. This author clearly states thatthere is a close connection between the loss of people’s diverseculture and the loss of biodiversity. LaDuke’s opening remarksindicate that everyone should be concerned with the processes ofconserving the environment just like the Native American people (1).LaDuke observes that the natives have shaped the environment throughtheir expertise and experiences. The diverse organisms assist inbuilding a sustainable and a just future.

Thenine case studies explain the Indian communities and their way oflife, how the Europeans have exploited this land and its effect onpeople. The European Indian community has a history of how it hascoped with environmental degradation as well as cultural degradation.In an attempt to reduce the degradation, this community has beenfaced with various challenges such as corporate despoilers andgovernment failure (10).

Industries,such as North America, PCBs among others have killed fish, wildlifeand have also polluted the underground water. Akwesasne Mohawkreservation center is trying to prevent this pollution by introducingschemes such as Mother’s Milk Project. Through this project, theyrestore healthy lakes, fish and people. The author records thatFlorida Panthers and Seminole Indians have decreased as a result oftheir habitats encroachment. This is evidenced by coal strip mining,which has been stopped by Gail Small Native action through legalchallenges. As a result of this, LaDuke has criticized theenvironmentalists for failing to take care of the environment. Theauthor adds that the environmentalist have adopted a NIMBY (not- in-my -back -yard) approach.

Inthe initial three essays in the first chapter “Issues andOverviews”, the author introduces the book by insisting thatcultural diversity and biodiversity are related. The author alsodiscusses her concern for the loss of culture and language (17). Inthis chapter, the author is interested in the conservation of theenvironment and the animal species. LaDuke suggests that Seri elderscan assist in restoring the culture of the people.

Thefifth chapter indicates forms of pollution, such as, nuclearpollution, mining uranium, and nuclear waste, which are a point ofconcern in these lands. The author notes that Native Americanscomplain that more than half of their land has been taken away byUranium miners. LaDuke accuses the government of acquiring miningcontracts in most parts of India, thus reducing their lands.According to LaDuke “the struggle to preserve the trees of whiteEarth is not solely about forest preservation and biodiversity it isalso about cultural transformation, for the Anishinaabeg forestculture cannot exist without the forest” (127).

Buffaloherds are also trying to be restored by Indians in the plains. Thisis done to restore the ecosystem. This will also restore theirrelationship with their buffalo sisters and brothers. Therelationship between the Lakotas and the white cattle ranchers withthe government officials is cemented through this restoration.

Thelast two case studies are about Hawaii and Hopi reservation inNorthern Arizona. The author complains that Native Hawaiians haveoccupied the land, which was otherwise converted to national parksand military bases. These lands were used as the bombing range by theAmerican navy. The government, however, claims that it is going toinvent ways of cleaning the toxic waste. Traditional methods offishing and farming are also being reviewed by the government. Theauthor postulates that alternative energy supplies, such as, solarenergy are acting as an alternative to electricity.


LaDuke,Winona. AllOur Relations: Narrative Struggles for Land and Life.Boston: South End Press, 1999. Print.

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