The Nature of Empires and the Empires of Nature
Indigenous Peoples and the Great Lakes Environment
Hardcover 372 pp.
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Drawing on themes from John MacKenzie’s Empires of Nature and the Nature of Empires (1997), this book explores, from Indigenous or Indigenous-influenced perspectives, the power of nature and the attempts by empires (United States, Canada, and Britain) to control it. It examines contemporary threats to First Nations communities from ongoing political, environmental, and social issues, as well as efforts to confront and eliminate these threats to peoples and the environment. Discussions are informed by MacKenzie’s work and centre on the concept of the “civilized” attempting to control the “savage,” and how the “savage” forces the “civilized” to alter its trajectory. It becomes apparent that empire, despite its manifestations of power, cannot control or discipline man and nature. Essays suggest new ways of looking at the Great Lakes watershed and the peoples and empires contained within it.
Karl S. Hele, a member of the Garden River First Nation community of Anishinaabeg, is an associate professor and the director of First Peoples Studies at Concordia University. He is the editor of Lines Drawn upon the Water: First Nations and the Great Lakes Borders and Borderlands (WLU Press, 2008).