Re: Aboriginal Overkill and Native Burning

wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Mon, 1 May 1995 12:08:51 -0500

I enjoyed Kay's paper very much and thank him for posting. I have been
making exactly this point to my introductory anthropology students last
week, and it was nice to have the references. Nevertheless, around the
world, native peoples are still being kicked off their property in order
to have 'parks.' I once saw this happen in Belize, where Mopan Maya
people were taken out of a "jaguar preserve." I kept telling the wild
ego-maniac who was in charge of the project that according to his own
data, white-tailed deer and peccary were jaguar's major prey species, and
that without shifting cultivation there would be no white tailed dear or
collared peccary...but the idea that Maya people killed jaguars was too
deeply entrenched in his mind.

On the matter of 'what is a wilderness?' I know no better discussion than
Michael Pollan's wonderful book "Second Nature." He disects the ideology
of wilderness with great acuity, and argues for a metaphor of gardening
as a better substitute. He also has the best discussion of lawn-fetishism
I have ever read - I use it in all my cultural ecology teaching.

Back to grading papers....


Richard Wilk Anthropology Dept.
812-855-8162 (voice) Indiana University
812-855-4358 (fax) Bloomington, IN 47405