Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature:
A Transnational Symposium on Indigenous Places and Protected Spaces of Nature, 19.-21.9.2018, Helsinki, Finland
The movement for nature preservation and conservation began in the United States in the late 1860s, culminating in the establishment of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. The debate over nature conservation versus preservation has continued ever since. This narrative often revolves around the question, whether protected nature areas should remain as “pristine wilderness” or whether they should be enhanced to, for example, serve tourism. For generations indigenous peoples have suffered from dispossession, violations of treaty, hunting and fishing rights, and loss of sacred places at the hands of national parks and other protected spaces of nature. This has resulted in many indigenous communities having tense relations with government-protected spaces of nature, most of which nation-states had carved out of indigenous homelands. This situation has resulted in the near silencing of indigenous voices and values related to the natural world. In creating protected spaces of nature, such as national parks, nation-states have built their management strategies on Western notions of wilderness preservation and excluded indigenous worldviews. This symposium investigates examples of successful collaborations between indigenous peoples and non-native stakeholders of protected spaces of nature across the world so that these models will guide nation-states and indigenous communities as they seek new ways to conserve, preserve, and manage the environment.