Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature, and Social Action (Nature, Society, and Culture) (Paperback)
Finalist for the 2020 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems
Since time before memory, large numbers of salmon have made their way up and down the Klamath River. Indigenous management enabled the ecological abundance that formed the basis of capitalist wealth across North America. These activities on the landscape continue today, although they are often the site of intense political struggle. Not only has the magnitude of Native American genocide been of remarkable little sociological focus, the fact that this genocide has been coupled with a reorganization of the natural world represents a substantial theoretical void. Whereas much attention has (rightfully) focused on the structuring of capitalism, racism and patriarchy, few sociologists have attended to the ongoing process of North American colonialism. Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People draws upon nearly two decades of examples and insight from Karuk experiences on the Klamath River to illustrate how the ecological dynamics of settler-colonialism are essential for theorizing gender, race and social power today.
About the Author
DR. KARI MARIE NORGAARD (non-Native Professor of Sociology/Environmental Studies at University of Oregon) has engaged in environmental justice policy work with the Karuk Tribe since 2003. Norgaard is author of Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life and other publications on gender, race, and the sociology of emotions.
"Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People is a wake-up call for social scientists. Through an intensive analysis of Karuk experiences, Professor Norgaard shows the artificiality of nature-social divide. With passion and commitment, she demonstrates the interconnectedness of all systems (environment, health, gender, race, emotions, and political power). I highly recommend this book."
— Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
"Transformative for environmental justice! So many powerful relationships have created a lasting, generous and complex book, connecting ecology, culture, food, history and self-determination. Cutting in her critique of colonial power, Norgaard shows powerfully what sociology and ally-ship can achieve when responsibility and accountability are centered."
— Kyle Powys Whyte
"Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People is a terrific book that impressively brings together seemingly far-flung concepts in thoughtful ways. Norgaard makes an insightful argument about how ‘nature’ functions within race-making, weaving sociological theories into an interdisciplinary project that is also empirically driven. My congratulations to the author on a fantastic contribution to sociology."
— Lisa Sun- Hee Park
"What a gift! Kari Norgaard’s Salmon and Acorns Feed our People illustrates in unflinching detail how the environmental degradation wrought by settler colonization must be seen as a form of violence while simultaneously revealing the Karuk’s complex knowledge and life-affirming worldview. Given the environmental crisis and our refusal to acknowledge the ballast of empire, this book is required reading."
— Laura Pulido
"Norgaard provide us with a powerful example of sociological research that centers the needs and priorities of Indigenous communities; the rich collaborative analyses support Indigenous resistance to colonialism."
— Michelle M. Jacob
"Kari Norgaard has produced a truly insightful and urgent analysis of how indigenous peoples resist racial formation and settler-colonialism, while practicing environmental justice and food sovereignty. This book is an extraordinary intervention and charts an urgently needed and timely path forward for the environmental social sciences and racial/ethnic studies."
— David Naguib Pellow
"Colonization, Fire Suppression, and Indigenous Resurgence in the Face of Climate Change" excerpt of Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People in Yes! Magazine
— Yes! Magazine
"What western states can learn from Native American wildfire management strategies" by Kari Mari Norgaard and Sara Worl
— The Conversation
"Kari Marie Norgaard's 'Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People'"
— The Page 99 Test
"Pg. 99: Kari Marie Norgaard's 'Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People'"
— Campaign for the American Reader
"The particular points on which Kari Marie Norgaard alights have truly needed to be discussed aloud for a long time....In being able to break it down and have discussions, [readers] could learn a lot about [them]selves, where we each fit into a wildly altered landscape, and how we can go forward together as a tribe, practicing pikyav as fix-the-world people."
— News for Native California
"On indigenous land management, and a space beyond colonialism," interview with Kari Marie Norgaard
— This is Hell! podcast
"This book is a beacon from which to discover Indigenous theorists such as Nick Estes, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Winona LaDuke, and poets such as Sherwin Bitsui, Kim Shuck, and Jake Skeets. At its core, this is a deeply argued book that explicates the Karuk’s ethos of caring interconnectivity, while pushing each reader to grapple with the depth of settler colonialism. Further, it demands that we all—scholars, writers, readers—take this reality seriously in beginning to address the destruction and violence undergirding the United States."
— Orion Magazine
Sydney Environment Institute podcast with Professor Kari Marie Norgaard
— Sydney Environment Institute podcast
"Short Takes: Latest titles of interest from alumni and faculty authors."
— Oregon Quarterly
"A comprehensive and well-organized presentation of data and analyses that demonstrate how the legitimization of racial categories is directly connected to changes in the physical land....This book is an example of how sociology can grow and expand in both research and theory practices, opening the door to more comprehensive understandings of social relations and structures."
— Ethnic and Racial Studies
"Kari Marie Norgaard’s Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People is an important guide to achieving this goal skillfully. Norgaard conscientiously connects readers to Karuk epistemologies and illustrates them in the lessons she has drawn over nearly two decades of research and advocacy work with members of the Karuk community, whose ancestral lands stretch along the Klamath River in northern California. Her commitment to legally establishing the book’s copyright with the Karuk Tribe is one I hope other non-Native researchers collaborating with Indigenous peoples will make a standard practice."
— Monthly Review