How similar and Indigenous North American and Leopoldian Land Ethics?
Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is often compared to the ethics of many North AmericanIndigenous communities, like Tribes and First Nations. At the heart of Leopold’s land ethic arethe ideas that humans should consider themselves as “plain citizens” of the biotic community and that “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the bioticcommunity.”
Leopold’s centering value on the harmony of the biotic community and qualifyinghuman status as relational serve as sources for such a comparison with Indigenous ethics. Indeed, North American Indigenous elders, scholars and writers argue for ethics based on reciprocalmoral responsibilities among humans, other living beings (animals, plants, etc.), and naturalinterconnected collectives (like forests and water cycles).
In many Indigenous ethics, humansare understood as relatives of these beings and collectives. It seems to be quite plausible, then,that there is something similar between the notions of “plain citizens” (Leopold) and “relatives”(Indigenous) and notions like the “integrity of the biotic community” (Leopold) and the“reciprocal relations” (Indigenous) among beings and collectives called for in some Indigenousethics.