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From The University of Arizona Press
Mining, the Environment, and Indigenous Development Conflicts
By Saleem H. Ali
254 pp. / 6.125 x 9.25 / 2003
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From sun-baked Black Mesa to the icy coast of Labrador, native lands for decades have endured mining ventures that have only lately been subject to environmental laws and a recognition

"An important contribution to our understanding of the factors influencing decision making among these groups in both nations."
— Ken Pepion, Harvard University Native American Studies Program

"It is refreshing to find a strong work grounded in social science theory that is also engaging for casual readers."
— Montana, the Magazine of Western History
of treaty rights. Yet conflicts surrounding mining development and indigenous peoples continue to challenge policy-makers.

This book gets to the heart of resource conflicts and environmental impact assessment by asking why indigenous communities support environmental causes in some cases of mining development but not in others. Saleem Ali examines environmental conflicts between mining companies and indigenous communities and with rare objectivity offers a comparative study of the factors leading to those conflicts.

Mining, the Environment, and Indigenous Development Conflicts presents four cases from the United States and Canada: the Navajos and Hopis with Peabody Coal in Arizona; the Chippewas with the Crandon Mine proposal in Wisconsin; the Chipewyan Inuits, Dene and Cree with Cameco in Saskatchewan; and the Innu and Inuits with Inco in Labrador. These cases exemplify different historical relationships with government and industry and provide an instance of high and low levels of Native resistance in each country. Through these cases, Ali analyzes why and under what circumstances tribes agree to negotiated mining agreements on their lands, and why some negotiations are successful and others not.

Ali challenges conventional theories of conflict based on economic or environmental cost-benefit analysis, which do not fully capture the dynamics of resistance. He proposes that the underlying issue has less to do with environmental concerns than with sovereignty, which often complicates relationships between tribes and environmental organizations. Activist groups, he observes, fail to understand such tribal concerns and often have problems working with tribes on issues where they may presume a common environmental interest.

This book goes beyond popular perceptions of environmentalism to provide a detailed picture of how and when the concerns of industry, society, and tribal governments may converge and when they conflict. As demands for domestic energy exploration increase, it offers clear guidance for such endeavors when native lands are involved.



About Saleem H. Ali

Saleem H. Ali is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont and Research Scholar at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.