This 15-minute documentary describes how the Lummi Nation put their treaty rights on the line to protect natural resources for everyone.
The 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington are leaders in efforts to protect and restore natural resources in the region. At the heart of those efforts are rights reserved by the tribes in treaties with the U.S. government. Tribes reserved rights to harvest fish, shellfish, wildlife and other natural resources in exchange for most of the land that makes up the region today. Because all natural resources are connected, and because of their role as co-managers with the state, treaty tribes are active in every aspect of natural resources management in western Washington. As a result, tribal treaty rights and natural resources management efforts are protecting and enhancing natural resources for everyone.
“Epilogue: Returning the Gift” from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants [Milkweed Editions, 2013, pp380-384]
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“Generosity is simultaneously a moral and a material imperative, especially among people who live close to the land and know its waves of plenty and scarcity. Where the well-being of one is linked to the wellbeing of all. Wealth among traditional people is measured by having enough to give away.” (381)
“The earth gives away for free the power of wind and sun and water, but instead we break open the earth to take fossil fuels. Had we taken only that which is given to us, had we reciprocated the gift, we would not have to fear our own atmosphere today.” (383)
“We are all bound by a covenant of reciprocity: plant breath for animal breath, winter and summer, predator and prey, grass and fire, night and day, living and dying. Water knows this, clouds know this. Soil and rocks know they are dancing in a continuous giveaway of making, unmaking, and making again the earth.” (383)
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