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Re: American Indians & Fisheries/A question.


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Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 9 Dec 1996 11:21:37 PST





TEXT/PLAIN (1 lines)

Dear FE,
   Working as a fisheries biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and
Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), I am routinely engaged in the integration of
native american philosophy with current scientific practices. My organization
formed to serve the biological assessment, management, and enforcement needs
of native american tribes engaged in off-reservation treaty-guaranteed harvest
of natural resources within Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Our
biological staff utilizes the most current scientific tools and techniques to
assess and manage natural resources for the tribes we serve. I do not believe
that these "modern" scientific practices are contrary to native american
philosophy regarding natural resource management. Rather, native american
beliefs form the foundation and direction for our work, and "modern science"
dictates the exact methods and tools that we use.
    As an example, here is an excerpt from one of GLIFWC's publications which
addresses some of the beliefs of the Anishinabe people we serve:

                           The Anishinabe Way

     In comparison to non-Indians who protect and enhance most natural
resources for recreational purposes, the Anishinabe people hold the basic
philosophy that the Creator provides fish, game, and plant resources for
subsistence purposes.
     The "Anishinabe Way" underlies the unique approach to resource management
which is brought by tribal people into the critical, modern-day decisions
regarding natural resources. Traditional thought directs management to be
holistic and integrated, respectful of all creation. An understanding of the
universal order and recognition of man's dependence on all other life forms,
rather than his dominance, assures holistic management. Traditional thought
also demands long-term vision, protecting the well-being, not just of the next
generation or two, but of the "Seventh Generation," thus extending
responsibility for the impact management decisions far into the future.

   This philosophy regarding natural resources forms the foundation for the
work we do at GLIFWC. I find it interesting that native american views
towards natural resource management are remarkably similar to that of
"ecosystem management," which is becoming more prevalent in scientific
discussions these days. When working for the tribes and considering
management actions, we are expected to have an extremely long-term point of
view (seven generations). Typical long-range plans in fisheries are for 5-15
years whereas long-range plans for the tribes are considered in the 150-300
year time frame. Native American thought also places man as dependent upon,
and connected to, the earth. Plants and animals are provided to man for
sustenance, and are not to be taken without thanksgiving. There's a certain
amount of reverence and respect given to natural resources that is absent from
traditional western thought.
    Working for the tribes has been a good experience for me. I definitely
had to change some of my views, but I think that I gained perspective. If
there are any questions that I could help with, please feel free to contact
me. GLIFWC also has a great Public Information Office with materials
available for distribution. GLIFWC's address is:

        Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
        Public Information Office
        P.O. Box 9
        Odanah, WI 54861
        (715) 682-6619

* Steven L. Haeseker *
* Inland Fisheries Biologist *
* GLIFWC- MN Satellite Office *
* HCR 67, Box 194 *
* Onamia, MN 56342 *
* (320) 532-3883 *
* (320) 532-3631 FAX *
* email: [log in to unmask] *

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