Often end in an Eden like paradise. Instead,

times when these environmental myths are not only challenged but dispelled they’re
met with rather visceral reactions from many. Shepard Krech’s The Ecological Indian: Myth and History, a
work that focused on environmental overharvesting among multiple American
Indian groups, is a prime example. One critic became so angry that he told
the author he would end up in hell for publishing a book that was so damaging
to the planet and as well as Native Peoples (Chacon and Mendoza 8).

nothing demonstrates this problem more clearly than the Kayapo, a tribal group
still fighting for land rights in Brazil today. During the late 1980s the
Kayapo launched a massive campaign in order to gain control of their own land
from the unsanctioned access of miners and loggers. Environmentalists took up
their cry and helped them to achieve international support and recognition,
their cause was further aided by the one time lead singer for the Police,
Sting. A partnership with the Kayapo and other indigenous groups and
environmentalists was and is a way for Indian groups to gain greater outside
support or attention. However, in some cases as was the case with the Kayapo
often times the desired goals are not shared by both parties and can lead to
intense misunderstandings. The Kayapo have been in sustained contact with the
outside would to some degree or another for nearly one hundred years. They have
developed strategies for dealing with outside people and governments to achieve
their ends. The image of the noble savage and brute barbarian have been used
for various purposes, once again, both are untrue. And an idealized image of
the Indian or Indians as some kind of savior of the environment is a
misrepresentation of their culture and leads to nothing but confusion and
misunderstanding (Rice 109).

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environmental conferences they made sure that all Kayapo present were dressed
in traditional attire and appeared like warriors, knowing that this was the
kind of image that would sell. The Kayapo fought for and won the right to
control their own land, the outside world imagined that this would end in an
Eden like paradise. Instead, one of the first things the Kayapo did was to
lease out sections of their land to loggers and miners. This of course did not
make environmentalists who had supported them very happy. There had never been
a true statement of goals that existed between the two groups, something that
lead to disillusionment on the part of environmentalists. The Kayapo were not
fighting to ensure that their land was never used for mining or logging, they
simply wanted control over who got to do it and how much. Understandably they
also wanted to be able to make a profit, which they successfully did.  

more worrying trend is that taking place in academic circles. It is hard to
imagine anthropologists actively working against and in some cases attempting
to stop new work that is both well documented and backed by data from being published, yet this is exactly what has happened in
several instances. Chacon and Mendoza in their work The Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research Reporting on
Environmental Degradation and Warfare explain attempts to attack and
destroy their own work “the visceral reaction to this work in the academy and
the public arena is well documented.
Scholars often vilify it and its authors, branding them racists or (in the case
of the senior editor) academic Nazis. These essays, like all such works, should
rise or fall not because of ad hominem attacks but because of their use of
evidence and the clarity and intelligence of theory and analysis” (Chacon and
Mendoza viii). Once again the answer to the question why is a difficult
question to answer. Information on warfare, violence and
environmental degradation on the part of Amerindian peoples is simply one that
has become unpopular in many circles. For one reason or another these arguments
are now viewed as politically incorrect but also anti-indigenous.

issue of the environmental Indian is one that seems to have engraved itself
among certain members of the academic community. For example, many have
asserted the belief that Amerindian peoples hunted in sustainable patterns due
to a traditional system that was inherently conservationist. William Ritchie, an archaeologist for the state of New York, in 1956 made the comment “in sharp contrast to
the white man’s way that the Indian trod lightly through his natural
environment, merging himself sympathetically into the world of the living and
non-living things” (Chacon Mendoza 2). Others insisted that “an Indian took
pride in not making a mark on the land, but on leaving as few marks as
possible.” And “it is now clearly understood that many indigenous peoples live
in greater harmony with the natural environment than do inhabitants of the
industrialized consumer societies” (Chacon and Mendoza 3). Clearly, these ideas
have persisted into our own day and are not merely relics of a time when data
was not complete. The myth of American Indians existing a state of perpetual
peace also persists in many circles. In 1995 Means and Wolf described
pre-contact indigenous warfare as more akin to a professional football game
then European warfare which was geared towards extermination (Chacon and
Mendoza 4).