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Of Saving Clayoquot: Wilderness And The Politics Of Indigeneity

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In the chapter Saving Clayoquot: Wilderness and the politics of Indigeneity, author Bruce Braun argues that although indigeneity is one of postcolonial environmentalism's most privileged terms, it risks indigenous peoples becoming subsumed within the “natural history” of being saved. The image I chose symbolizes how indigeneity in contemporary eco-politics simply inserts indigenous people into a pre-existing natural landscape. It paints an image that indigenous people are only an element in nature to be objectively ordered and described. We see this type of cultural objectification in many mainstream environmental advertisements that celebrate indigenous culture by banishing it to the past or mourning the loss of wildlife in association to…show more content…
The meaning behind the image reproduces visions of social difference, while the image itself produces a scopic regime, which in itself is universal. This visual effect is important in understanding the critical approach to visual culture, taking images seriously, and thinking about the social conditions and effects of visual objects. Is this image telling the whole truth of indigenous protest or is it constructed to show only the side society wants to see? Gillian Rose suggests three modalities that can contribute to a critical understanding of visual images: technological, compositional, and social. The visual technology of this image ranges through an array of media platforms, specifically used in ads for environmental justice. The visual composition takes advantage of the strategically drawn divide between the traditional nature and modern development. The social aspect of this image describes the socioeconomic and political conflict between indigenous groups and developers. This image can be perceived in many ways depending on the audience. A developer may see progress halted by unconventional or even backward views, whereas a western environmentalist may see a traditional tribe's last chance at survival. Personally, I am more concerned with what an indigenous person would see and whether they think of this as a form of cultural
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