Environmentalism Across Cultural Borders

Authors: Sarah S Works, J.D.

Disciplines: Business and Management, Economics, Environmental Studies, Health, Law, Political Science and Public Administration

Themes: Economic Development, Intergovernmental Relations, Law and Justice, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty

Tribes: Hopi, Navajo

This case examines competing views about environmental protection strategy among predominantly white, mainstream environmental advocacy groups and two major Indian tribes in the American Southwest. This case illustrates the complexities associated with nation building that relies on funds generated by natural resources development, and the dangers that exist when strategies for environmental protection collide between cultures. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the Hopi Tribe to ban the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups from its Reservation in 2009 and describes economic factors related to a coal economy that contributed to that decision.