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Social Science Native American Studies

Principles of Tsawalk

An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis

by (author) Umeek /.E. Richard Atleo

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
Native American Studies, Environmental Policy, Environmental Science
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price

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The word tsawalk, literally one, expresses the ancient Nuu-chah-nulth view that all living things – human, plant, and animal – form part of an integrated whole brought into harmony through constant negotiation and mutual respect. In Principles of Tsawalk, Umeek argues that contemporary environmental and political crises reflect a world out of balance.


Building upon his first book, Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview, Umeek weaves together indigenous and Western worldviews into an alternative framework for responding to global environmental and political crises and to the dispossession and displacement of indigenous peoples. These problems, the author shows, stem from an historical and persistent failure to treat all peoples and life forms with respect and accord them constitutional recognition. As this book demonstrates, the Nuu-chah-nulth principles of recognition, consent, and continuity, embodied in songs, language, and ceremonies, hold the promise of achieving sustainable lifeways in this shared struggle for balance.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Umeek (E. Richard Atleo), a hereditary Nuu-chah-nulth chief, is a research liaison at the University of Manitoba and an associate adjunct professor at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview.

Editorial Reviews

Professor Atleo, a Chief of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, argues in this book that the principles followed by his tribe would solve the planetary problems such as environmental crises, poverty, lack of education and political crisis. We should treat all peoples and life forms with respect. Trial lawyers practising in this field will be able to draw on and quote what could become legal principles sourcing same in this valuable text.

The Barrister