Recent debates over the stereotype of the “ecologically noble Indian” have helped illuminate some of the ambiguities and complexities that characterize the relationship between indigenous peoples and environmentalism. But, while scholars engaged in this debate have examined the cultural assumptions underlying Euro-American notions ofindigenousness, they have paid relatively little attention to the equally problematic concepts of environmentalism andconservation, and how use of these terms necessarily frames indigenous people's beliefs and values in Euro-North American cultural terms. This essay examines the cultural assumptions underlying these concepts and highlights political consequences of their use.

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