The Word for World Is Forest. Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

The war in Vietnam stirred emotions within the
science fiction community just as it did within
American society at large, and inevitably some authors later attempted to translate their reactions
into fiction. There are clear parallels from the side
that favored intervention, as in
The Glory Game
(1972) by Keith LAUMER, and others that were critical of the entire endeavor, as in Life During
(1987) by Lucius Shepard. Ursula K. LE
GUIN wrote one of the most successful of the latter
in this short novel for the original anthology,
Dangerous Visions
(1972), edited by Harlan ELLISON.
The planet Athshe is a pastoral world, heavily
forested, whose inhabitants are peaceful, almost
complacent, and live in harmony with their environment. All of this comes to an end when outside
forces arrive on their world, intent upon clearing
much of the forest, introducing the concepts of
widescale violence and even warfare. The invaders
disrupt the local culture and forever change the
native attitude toward the outside universe, but
they are not going to have their way easily. The
Athsheans have an ability to act through their
dreams and through the dreams of their unwanted
visitors—an almost mystical ability that will ultimately restore their freedom. They will not, however, be able to return to their original blissful
ignorance, for their collective psyche has been
scarred forever.
Although the outsiders are forced to leave, an
effort is made at reconciliation, and assurances are
given that in the future the rights of the natives
will be respected. The parallels with Vietnam
are not intrusive, and the conflict between an
exploitative, materialistic culture and a spiritual,
ecologically minded but comparatively powerless
people are applicable to many historical and
contemporary situations. This short novel, which
is set in the same universe as the author’s Hain
stories, won the Hugo Award as best novella of
the year.