Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



For hundreds of years, this continent's Indians shared a spiritual belief that they must respect and protect their Mother Earth above all else. Today, however, many tribes no longer view the environment as a bank of natural resources that they must shield and shelter at any cost. Instead, the economic pressures of the twentieth century-particularly underdevelopment, unemployment, and poverty -are forcing a growing number of Indian tribes to exchange the spiritual view of their once pristine environment for a commercial one. This shift from nurturing nature to exploiting the environment on a growing number of reservations results largely from a legal loophole that permits nonnatives to pollute inside Indian country in ways they could not elsewhere.