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About the journal

Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment is a new journal whose ambition is to explore the intimate relationship that people who call themselves indigenous ‑ or are defined by others as such ‑ maintain with their environment.

The scientific debate for which Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment proposes to be a forum is situated within the frame created notably in North America by two fundamental texts that generated heated debates these past two decades. The first of these texts ‑ “The Trouble with Wilderness”, published by William Cronon in 1996 ‑ exemplified two premises that seem to be generally accepted today although they are the object of continually renewed analysis: 1) nature does not exist without mankind; 2) the environment is a social and/or cultural construct. Though not totally consensual, Cronon’s text remains less controversial than Sherpard Krech III’s, The Ecological Indian, published in 1999.

The association of these two texts raises numerous questions. Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment intends to be a new space where contributors from the whole world, and from all fields, will attempt to answer them.

Globally, the objective of the journal is to explore the relationship people have with their immediate natural environment. By “indigenous people” we do not mean “primitive societies” or “first people,” two phrases that appear loaded with two many derogatory connotations. We invoke the etymological meaning of “indigenous” to focus our attention on people engendered by and within a specific place. It does not matter much that this indigeneity is purely imaginary. If it contributes to shape a people’s identity, then we believe it is fundamental, worthy of interest and highly instructive. This indigenous characteristic, which sometimes shows itself in the ancient belief that the people was literally borne onto the world by “Mother-Earth,” often conditions the relation that the people have with their environment. At least, Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment wants to examine the notion that indigeneity gives birth to a particular link to the land, a link determined by the very belief of a people engendered by a specific place.

Other questions will be explored, such as the relationship between identity constructions, socio-economic dynamics and representations of the environment, and the shaping of representations of nature and the environment. More broadly, analyzing the relation between indigenous people and their environment is also a way to examine how man comes to terms with the world, as well as the models of resource development and exploitation.

Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment aims to have a multidimensional approach of its object, as it seems necessary to understand it globally after it was deconstructed by the division of knowledge on the one hand, and by the separation of nature and culture on the other hand. This journal plans to be the place of a dialogue between actors and observers on the one hand, and experts from all fields of knowledge on the other hand. This first issue, introduced by a literary scholar, welcomes contributions by historians, anthropologists, and a jurist. Their viewpoints complement each other. Following issues will also welcome biologists, chemists, ethnologists, geographers, etc. They will analyze different aspects of our object, particularly the relationship some indigenous people have with environmentalists (Elohi – Indigenous People and the Environment 1.2, Dec. 2012), the nature/culture dichotomy, the representations of the indigenous ecologist, the political and environmental claims of indigenous people, and the place of indigenous knowledge in a globalized economy.


Cronon, William. “The Trouble with Wilderness: or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” Environmental History 1.1 (January 1996), 7-28.

Krech III, Shepard. The Ecological Indian: Myth and History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.

Latour, Bruno. Nous n’avons jamais été modernes : Essai d’anthropologie symétrique. Paris, La Découverte, 1991.

Serres, Michel. Biogée. Paris, Le Pommier, 2011.

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