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Restoring Reciprocal Relationships for Social and Ecological Health

Aug 21, 2020

Irene A. Vasquez

Volume 46 (2019) - Issue 4

Indigenous stewardship contributes to ecological biodiversity and ecosystem resiliency. Restoring reciprocal relationships between American Indians and traditional lands can improve ecosystem health and cure social ills through the restoration of traditional foods, medicines, and culturally utilized plants. Federal regulations and failure to recognize tribes near Yosemite National Park threaten endangered cultures and languages as well as traditionally utilized native plants. The societal understanding of the term natural, meaning without human influence, is becoming more complicated. Human-induced climate change and recognition of landscapes previously thought absent of human influence are now understood to have been shaped in part by Indigenous people, mainly through anthropogenic fire. Preserving public lands without Indigenous stewardship does not protect natural and cultural resources from impairment for future generations of Indigenous children.