Published: August 2010

Tribal Lands

Native Lands

Native Lands

Something remarkable is happening in Indian country: Tribes whose lands were once taken from them are setting an example for how to restore the environment.

By Charles Bowden
Photograph by Jack Dykinga

The Santa Clara Pueblo is among a growing number of tribes across the United States—of 564 recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)—making moves to bring back land crushed over generations of human use. Native American reservations cover 55 million acres of land (compared with 84 million acres controlled by the National Park Service), though most of these acres are not managed as wilderness or wildlife preserves. But something remarkable is emerging in Indian country. Those whose lands were once taken from them, those once dominated, often brutally, by the U.S. government, are setting an example for how to steward the environment.

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