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Part of the Biodiversity Crisis Curriculum Collection.
The Nez Perce tribe recently reacquired a portion of their ancestral homeland in northeastern Oregon that they had been forced off in the 1870s. According to Jaime A. Pinkham, Manager, Department of Fisheries Resource Management for the Nez Perce Tribe, “Returning to those mountains was like a homecoming. The history and the spirit of the Nez Perce never faded from those mountains.”
Before being elected to the Executive Committee, Pinkham was the manager of the tribal Department of Natural Resources. “The management of our natural resources is designed to meet the demands of today’s society on a sustained yield, while at the same time providing cultural protection and preservation of the diversity of the landscape.” Educated as a forester, he acknowledges that there is still much to learn about the land. “Not only do we have to learn how to better care for the land, we also need to preserve it in a way that protects its many secrets that may someday hold the answers to some of the world’s problems.”
Pinkham sees the protection of biological diversity and cultural diversity going hand in hand. “The Nez Perce are land-based people. A healthy environment is fundamental to our way of life and traditions. And the survival of certain resources is sacred to the expression of our beliefs.”
This is an excerpt from THE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS: LOSING WHAT COUNTS, edited by Michael J. Novacek, a publication of the New Press. © 2000 American Museum of Natural History. To order the book, call 1-800-233-4830.