Peter Brosius teaches anthropology at the University of Georgia. His present research focuses on the transnational environmental politics of the Sarawak rainforest campaign.
Abstract of paper given at
Indigenous Traditions and Ecology
Central to current indigenous rights struggles are assertions about the sacredness of particular landscapes. While recognizing the enormous emancipatory force of the idea of the sacred, I argue, drawing on the work of John Pemberton, that the "sacred" is part of the "grammar of conquest". The challenge, then, is to forge a vocabulary of resistance that avoids the genericizing qualities inherent in the idea of the sacred, qualities which, when imposed over indigenous landscapes and ecologies, may in fact distort their significance to indigenous communities.