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Open Access

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Honors Thesis/Project Advisor for this Particular Submission:

Kathleen A. Brown-Perez

UMass Amherst


Concerns surrounding the environment have been growing in this country throughout the last century. Environmental damage poses a threat to everyone, but American Indians have a higher risk of health problems and cultural damage from environmental problems than the mainstream population. Using secondary sources from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's W.E.B. Du Bois Library, this paper explores how pollution, desertification, resources scarcity, and climate change affect American Indian health and cultures, and in the process differentiates between Western beliefs and traditional American Indian beliefs regarding the environment. It then compares United States environmental policy to environmental programs found on specific reservations and contemplates how effective American Indian programs would be if extended to the country as a whole.