Learning from the Land Otter: Religious Representation of Traditional Resource Management

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Learning from the Land Otter: Religious Representation of Traditional Resource Management

Post  Admin on Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:50 pm

Throughout the forests of the Northwest Coast of North America --
those few forests that have not been logged -- one finds cedar trees
from which long strips of bark have been removed. These strips were taken, at
various times in the recent or distant past, by local Native American peoples, to
use for a wide variety of reasons. The trees were never cut for their bark; only
one long, narrow strip was removed. The process made it necessary for
someone to climb high up in the tree to cut the top of the strip.

This difficult and dangerous climb was economically reasonable; cutting a
cedar is a long job, and would, in any case, eliminate the chance of future bark.
But the climb was required for a more immediate and compelling reason: the
cedar is sacred, and its indwelling spirit must be respected. Wanton cutting of a
cedar is unthinkable. Before a cut is made, prayers and apologies are made to the
tree. The cutter explains that he or she really needs the bark, and often adds that
he or she will take as little as possible, in the most careful way.

In spite of two centuries of contact with, and borrowing from, the outside
world, this reverence for the cedar continues today. It is part of a wider religious
involvement with the landscape -- with water, mountains, plants, and animals --
that incorporates environmental management rules as part of sacred ethics.
Jeux gratuits

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