Environmental Justice at the Moral Terrains of Environmental Heritage: Two Cases for Policy, Management, and Indigenous Recognition

Considering two distinct cases of Indigenous recognition, both involving World Heritage sites and National Parks, and both involving environmental justice in unique contexts of environmental identity and Indigenous struggles, this presentation addresses the entanglement of settler identities of Australia and the United States. Regarding the Anangu community of Australia, we find a joint-management structure of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park aimed towards reconciliation between settler and Aboriginal Australians, but with a conflict over the “climb” both attractive to a nationalist pilgrimage of settler Australians and tourists; however, restricted by the Anangu, who are the actual owners of the land. The Pueblo People of North America confront similar struggles pertaining to archaeological and tourist practices in the Mesa Verde Region of the Ancient Pueblo People. To what extent may the environmental heritage of Indigenous peoples be compromised regarding robust participation, political recognition, cultural reconciliation, and genuine (anti-colonial) collaborative research? Considering both cases, this presentation considers the relationships between settler-colonial cultures and Indigenous people as these pertain to environmental heritage: inclusive of respect for cultural identity, dependency upon tourism industry, the politics of the knowledge industry, and the management discrepancies between worldviews.