Governmental deniability and corporate accountability


Devils Tower in Wyoming, part of the Black Hills where the Lakhota live

In the time of environmental awareness, many groups and individuals have spoken out against the corporate powers that are destroying our environments. These ideas of conservation and respect of resources stem from Native American teachings of the lands that they believe they are caretakers of (Saier,2010). The beliefs that the native people have in North America are attracting environmental activists in joining their cause, bringing up treaties and other official documents that governmental bodies have wrote to establish native rights to land and other inalienable rights (Murray, 2012). Corporate influence has clouded judgement of government in part due to the effects that consumerism and capitalism is an effect of colonization with entitlement to what settlers believe they can own (Krakoff, 2013). Being aware of the effects of modern climate change, it is necessary to examine why this is an issue when such drastic changes in climate have never been recorded until man entered the Industrial Revolution.

In the America’s, resources were preserved and maintained until colonizers invaded these lands and proclaimed their Manifest Destinies. This is supported by Sarah Krakoff who is a professor of law in Colorado, believing that the resources being striped away and/or polluted by western settlers are deliberate to destroy Native American sovereignty and continue capitalistic mentality (Krakoff, 2013). She brings up the time of when the government initiated legal and forced removal from many nation’s original lands so that the government would have the rights to resources, while recent strategies are to create more resource extraction and transportation through sites that may be sacred to those people (Krakoff, 2013). Canada’s First Nation’s are having issues with dam buildings, according to Marjorie Cohen of British Columbia Studies, claiming that certain dam building would destroy the environment and the people without a great need for more electricity (Cohen, 2009).

Some of the actions by organizations have lead to limited government intervention in protecting the environment, setting up divisions of protection groups like the EPA to monitor and control environmental effects harm (APC, 2012). These actions have been in response to the activist groups fighting the corporate influence and agenda, which Shari Narine reported on how environmental and native activists planted a totem to end pipeline extraction and transportation through Native American land (Narine, 2014). The exploitation of Native Americans seems to be the result of further hatred toward their culture, which has little change since the invasion by business and governments in the early era of colonization.

Works Cited:

Cohen, M. G. (2009). Out of the Closet on Site C. BC Studies, (161), 106-108.

Krakoff, S. (2013). Settler Colonialism and Reclamation: Where American Indian Law and Natural Resources Law Meet. Colorado Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Review, 24(2), 261-286.

Narine, S. (2014). Totem represents fight against further oil sands development. Windspeaker, 32(7), 8.

Proposed Rule Would Permit Delegation of PSD Program to Indian Tribes. (2012). Air Pollution Consultant, 22(2), 2.41.

Saier, M., & Trevors, J. (2010). First Nations/Indigenous People’s Wisdom. Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 20559-60. doi:10.1007/s11270-008-9672-5


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