Roots of Our Renewal

Roots of Our Renewal

Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance

Clint Carroll

Highlights the complexities for indigenous Americans of governing a state while caring for the environment

256 Pages, 6 x 9 in



Roots of Our Renewal

Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance

Series: First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies

Clint Carroll

ISBN: 9780816690909

Publication date: May 30th, 2015

256 Pages


8 x 5

"Clint Carroll tackles the idea that tribal sovereignty is at odds with local and federal efforts to protect the environment and instead argues that indigenous governments are significant environmental actors, deeply invested in retaining Native lands and resources. This book is perfect for classroom use and for anyone interested in political ecology as it relates to indigenous struggles for self-determination."—Circe Sturm, The University of Texas at Austin

"Carroll’s research. especially considering the culturally sensitive nature of the subject, is an excellent example of participatory, social justice-oriented research done well."—H-Net 

"Roots of Our Renewal is a significant contribution to understanding how past and present interaction with Euro-American society structures current American Indian affairs."—Western Historical Quarterly

"[Roots of Our Renewal] presents valuable insight for researchers intending to work with Indigenous tribal entities and acknowledges the potential challenges involved."—Ethnohistory

"Clint Carroll does a masterful job of interconnecting many different and complex threads across culture, history, politics, social relationships, plants, and land."—Great Plains Research

"More appealing than other reference books. I recommend this book to anyone interested in sustaining traditional knowledge and practices."—HerbalGram

Honorable Mention: Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award

In Roots of Our Renewal, Clint Carroll tells how Cherokee people have developed material, spiritual, and political ties with the lands they have inhabited since removal from their homelands in the southeastern United States. Although the forced relocation of the late 1830s had devastating consequences for Cherokee society, Carroll shows that the reconstituted Cherokee Nation west of the Mississippi eventually cultivated a special connection to the new land—a connection that is reflected in its management of natural resources.

Until now, scant attention has been paid to the interplay between tribal natural resource management programs and governance models. Carroll is particularly interested in indigenous environmental governance along the continuum of resource-based and relationship-based practices and relates how the Cherokee Nation, while protecting tribal lands, is also incorporating associations with the nonhuman world. Carroll describes how the work of an elders’ advisory group has been instrumental to this goal since its formation in 2008.

An enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Carroll draws from his ethnographic observations of Cherokee government–community partnerships during the past ten years. He argues that indigenous appropriations of modern state forms can articulate alternative ways of interacting with and “governing” the environment.

Clint Carroll is assistant professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.


Note to the Reader
Introduction. Keepers of Knowledge: Indigenous Environmental Governance
1. Before Removal: The Political Ecology of the Early Cherokee State
2. Shaping New Homelands: Landscapes of Removal and Renewal
3. The “Greening” of Oklahoma: State Power and Cherokee Resurgence after the Dust Bowl
4. Indigenous Ethnobotany: Cherokee Medicine and the Power of Plant Lore
5. The Spirit of This Land: Terrains of Cherokee Governance
Conclusion. Sovereign Landscapes: Spiritual, Material, and Political Relationships to Land