Symbolic and political ecology among contemporary Nez Perce Indians in Idaho, USA: Functions and meanings of hunting, fishing, and gathering practices

Agriculture and Human Values 21 (2/3):157-169 (2004)

Indigenous ecologies in industrial societies need immediate attention in light of the ongoing debate on indigenous resource rights and decreasing biodiversity. This paper examines the functions and meanings of hunting, fishing, and gathering activities among contemporary Nez Perce Indians in Idaho, USA. The collected data were analyzed with Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of “symbolic capital” and “practice” within the framework of political ecology. The results clearly demonstrate that hunting, fishing, and gathering practices play significant roles not only in social and religious but also economic and political senses within the contemporary Nez Perce society. This study suggests that investigation of indigenous ecologies in industrial societies take a synthesized approach between idealist and materialist perspectives.
Keywords Fishing  Gathering  Hunting  Indigenous Ecology  Native American  Nez Perce  Political Ecology  Symbolic Ecology
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DOI 10.1023/B:AHUM.0000029403.91466.21
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