Hunting for Justice

An Indigenous Critique of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Lauren Eichler and David Baumeister

Abstract

Within the mainstream environmental movement, regulated hunting is commonly defended as a tool for preserving and managing populations of wild animals for future generations. We argue that this justification, encapsulated in the seven principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, perpetuates settler colonialism—an institutional and theoretical apparatus that systemically eliminates Indigenous peoples, expropriates Indigenous lands, and disqualifies Indigenous worldviews— insofar as it manifests an anthropocentric ideology that objectifies hunted animals as “natural resources” to be extracted. Because this ideology is antithetical to Indigenous views, its imposition through hunting regulation interrupts Indigenous lifeways, contributing to the destruction of Indigenous identity.

Keywords: environmental justice; hunting; Indigenous identity; Native American; nonhuman animals; North American Model of Wildlife Conservation; settler colonialism

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/ares.2018.090106

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