Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2020

Department 1

Interdisciplinary Studies


The differences between Indigenous and Western cultural conceptions of the Earth is a major cleavage between both communities and a source of tension and misunderstanding. Native American religious beliefs in communal ethics, the belief in the Earth and nature more broadly being a source of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment, has encouraged Native Americans to work to safeguard the environment they feel a spiritual connection to. This is contrasted in Western notions of human centrality that encourages Western consumer economies to exploit resources for commercial profit that has led to the dispossession of Native lands and desecration of its sacredness in the eyes of Native Americans. This gap in cultural conceptualizations of the environment is important to analyze in order to contextualize Native grievances towards the confiscation and subsequent exploitation of their lands and how differing patterns of land management between both communities reflect the widely diverging cultural concepts each community has for mankind's role in and relationship to the environment.


Written for IDS 206: Native American Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.