Indians & Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest

Edited by Sherry L. Smith and Brian Frehner

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American Indians play a vital role in the United States’ energy development for many reasons, not least of which is that much of the nation’s coal, oil, and uranium resources reside on tribal lands. The central question of the 2007 seminar from which this volume originated was whether energy development on Indian lands was a story of exploitation or of opportunity. “The collective answer,” write the organizers, “is both.” Here, the contributors have expanded their examination of the issues explored in their seminar. “What has been the meaning of energy development on Native American lands in the American Southwest, particularly for American Indian people?... And how does our understanding of past patterns guide policies and decisions—tribal, state, federal, corporate, and individual—that will affect all of us in the future?” ask the co-editors in their introduction.

Orin Starn, author of Ishi’s Brain, says Indians & Energy is particularly timely “because it raises such pressing questions at the intersection of debates about Native identity and tribal sovereignty, tradition and modernity, and environmental politics at a moment when global warming has brought the problem of America’s thirst for energy to the forefront.” Indians & Energy resulted from an ongoing partnership between SAR and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.

Find out more and purchase Indians & Energy by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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