Darrell K. Smith

Unearthing Cognitive Frames and Sowing Interactional Framing within Indigenous-Mining Conflict

by Darrell K. Smith
Spring 2010
George Mason University

The mining industry and indigenous communities have long been engaged in seemingly intractable conflicts. The conflicts are costly and drain the resources of both parties. There are few examples of creative, substantive, long-lasting solutions to these conflicts. The intractability of the conflicts may be the result of failing to uncover the deep-seated, underlying, conflicting and unresolved philosophical disputes which bias and undermine indigenous-mining conflict resolution attempts. Framing, as a method of discourse analysis, was used to identify the value systems held by the parties in the Picuris-Oglebay Norton dispute. Cognitive frames tended to describe entrenched conflict, whereas interactional framing yielded promise for the resolution of conflict.