Listening to Neglected Voices: American Indian Perspectives on Natural Resource Management

Author: Bengston, David N.

Source: Journal of Forestry, Volume 102, Number 1, January/February 2004 , pp. 48-52(5)

Publisher: Society of American Foresters

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Forestry agencies must ensure that the views of all citizens in our increasingly diverse society are included in decisionmaking. But gaining clear insights into the perspectives of ethnic and minority communities is often difficult. This article summarizes an analysis of news articles about resource management issues written by American Indians and published in Indian newspapers and finds ways in which their attitudes differ from those of many other Americans–particularly in the importance of spiritual values and the validity of traditional knowledge. The news stories also indicate a deep lack of trust in land management agencies. This approach–analyzing perspectives on natural resource management as expressed in a community's own words–can be used to learn about the attitudes of other minority populations. Managers who know how all their constituents think about natural resources will better understand the social context in which decisions need to be made.

Keywords: Native American; communication; diversity; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; spiritual values; traditional knowledge

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Social Scientist North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue St. Paul MN 55108, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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