Advocates or Critics?

Bret Diamond (diam9018@TAO.SOSC.OSSHE.EDU)
Thu, 11 May 1995 13:29:31 -0700

that seem more inclined to focus on the negative attributes of indigenous
and Native cultures than on the positive, particularly in the area of
cultual ecology. I have written and/or responded to several posts about
indigenous ecology, by about a 7-1 ratio the private and public mail that is
generated as a result of those posts is overwhelmingly negative: i.e.
continued reference the the Flores article that suggests that Native
Americans were to blame for the decline of the buffalo, not the white
I am aware that I am very opinionated, and that my posts can thus
inspire argument, so perhaps the responses are more critical of
indigenous peoples because people are responding to the tone of my posts
rather than how they feel about indigenous ecology.
I'd like to think that as anthropologists (or anth's in training)
that we would want to utilize our knowledge to the benefit of indigenous
people, rather than as their worst critics. Do you feel that anthro's
thus have an ethical and moral obligation to act as advocates for the
people that we earn our living studying about? The Flores argument is shaky
at best, why do you think that people on this list are so quick to
glorify it; to in effect "remove the Indians from their 'balance with
nature' pedastal?" Are we really only seeking "the truth" and, if so, at
what cost?