skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Authors: Kurt W. Russo, PhD

Disciplines: Anthropology, Communications, Environmental Studies, Native American Studies, Psychology, Social Work and Sociology

Themes: Activism, Cultural Preservation, Environmental Justice, Indian Identity, Intergovernmental Relations, Land, Natural Resources, Racism and Prejudice, Sacred Sites, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty

Tribes: Lummi

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.