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Roots of Our Renewal

Roots of Our Renewal: Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance

Clint Carroll
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Roots of Our Renewal
    Book Description:

    InRoots of Our Renewal,Clint Carroll tells how Cherokee people have developed material, spiritual, and political ties with the lands they have inhabited since removal from their homelands in the southeastern United States. Although the forced relocation of the late 1830s had devastating consequences for Cherokee society, Carroll shows that the reconstituted Cherokee Nation west of the Mississippi eventually cultivated a special connection to the new land-a connection that is reflected in its management of natural resources.

    Until now, scant attention has been paid to the interplay between tribal natural resource management programs and governance models. Carroll is particularly interested in indigenous environmental governance along the continuum of resource-based and relationship-based practices and relates how the Cherokee Nation, while protecting tribal lands, is also incorporating associations with the nonhuman world. Carroll describes how the work of an elders' advisory group has been instrumental to this goal since its formation in 2008.

    An enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Carroll draws from his ethnographic observations of Cherokee government-community partnerships during the past ten years. He argues that indigenous appropriations of modern state forms can articulate alternative ways of interacting with and "governing" the environment.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4452-4
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Note to the Reader
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION. Keepers of Knowledge: Indigenous Environmental Governance
    (pp. 1-36)

    ᏅᏬᏘ.Nvwoti. Medicine. As someone with a working knowledge of the Cherokee language, this is the word I clung to on that mild October day, listening to two old Cherokee men speak about the plants growing on the hillside in front of us. They spoke to one another in fluent Cherokee, and I stood politely among them trying to pick up as much meaning as I could, based on my ongoing study of the language. Although I attempted to follow the conversation, I was quickly lost. Yet this word continued to surface, and eventually I was content in knowing only...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Before Removal: The Political Ecology of the Early Cherokee State
    (pp. 37-56)

    An enduring cherokee story tells of when the animals called councils among themselves to discuss their grievances against the human beings and to determine their methods of retaliation.¹ The people had grown increasingly disrespectful in their wanton killing of nonhumans, from the smallest insect to the swift deer who provided vital sustenance and clothing. The animal councils presented numerous proposals, including an outright war against humans, but found the most effective means of retaliation in the creation of disease. The deer introduced rheumatism into the human experience, crippling hunters who failed to pay respect to the spirits of those they...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Shaping New Homelands: Landscapes of Removal and Renewal
    (pp. 57-82)

    Stories of environmental change—whether implicitly or explicitly—are often stories of changes in human interaction with the environment. Significant accounts of environmental change in recent history have involved competition between differing ideals of the human relationship with the nonhuman world (e.g., Cronon 1983; Merchant 1989). This chapter tells the story of how Cherokees developed relationships to new lands in the west after Removal (circa 1839–61) and how colonial interference by non-Indian intruders and the U.S. government influenced and disrupted these relationships during the Civil War and Allotment Era (circa 1861–1914). I discuss this process in terms of...

  8. CHAPTER 3 The “Greening” of Oklahoma: State Power and Cherokee Resurgence after the Dust Bowl
    (pp. 83-114)

    In her extensive article, Yaqui legal scholar Rebecca Tsosie offers an assessment of contemporary American Indian environmental management and governance. Her acute analysis of the multifarious and complex challenges American Indian nations face with regard to cultural revitalization, economic development, and environmental protection (and how all are intertwined) informs her notion of environmental self-determination—“the right to exercise sovereignty and autonomy over reservation lands and resources” (Tsosie 1996, 227). Referencing the dramatic shift in federal Indian policy through the Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, Tsosie argues that the movement towardenvironmentalself-determination “has enabled the tribes to overcome...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Indigenous Ethnobotany: Cherokee Medicine and the Power of Plant Lore
    (pp. 115-138)

    “You see, it’s like approaching a wolf,” he said. “You have to get them to come to you.” This was advice a friend gave me in a conversation about how best to broach the topic of plant medicine with elders.¹ He is, in fact, an elder himself, and currently he is involved closely with the elders’ advisory group, although this conversation took place three months before the first group meeting. We had been driving rural dirt roads in Adair County, stopping along the way to observe and discuss the plants growing on the roadside and often venturing into the woods...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Spirit of This Land: Terrains of Cherokee Governance
    (pp. 139-170)

    On a cool and sunny late winter day in February of 2010, the elders’ group is gathered for their seventh meeting inside the nonprofit’s small cabin nestled in a secluded hollow. As usual, everyone has brought a variety of foods, including homemade stews, cornbread, and pies. Crosslin’s wife, Glenna (an expert of Cherokee cuisine), has brought the traditional winter comfort food,kenvchi—a delicious “soup” made of mashed and strained hickory nuts with hominy. Perhaps in part due to this delicacy, the atmosphere is especially jovial. Also as usual, conversation has tended to center on Crosslin, who is adept at...

  11. CONCLUSION. Sovereign Landscapes: Spiritual, Material, and Political Relationships to Land
    (pp. 171-182)

    We gathered at crosslin and Glenna’s house for the elders’ group’s tenth meeting in June 2012. Crosslin had requested that they host the meeting there so that he could perform a ceremonial blessing for the group through what he calls a “water treatment.” Cherokees have been going to water since time immemorial for purification and renewal (see Kilpatrick 1991), but nowadays Crosslin brings the water to them. That morning, I had done as he had asked and filled a clean trough with well water, positioning it facing east just outside of his house. Before the blessing, Crosslin offered some thoughts...

  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 183-188)
  13. Appendix
    (pp. 189-190)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 191-206)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-226)
  16. Index
    (pp. 227-252)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-253)