What can Western science learn from Indigenous knowledge? We speak with Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi) and Tui Shortland (Maori) about the value of Indigenous longitudinal place-based knowledge that Indigenous People have gathered over millennia. We unpack what positive collaboration between Western science and Indigenous science can look like and why it is important.
"Atahualpa" and "Lights in the forest" by Yarina. Used with permission.
Can traditional knowledge from Indigenous communities provide us with answers to fighting climate change? We speak with Andrea Carmen (Yaqui), Executive Director of International Indian Treaty Council. She speaks about how Indigenous women are very strong voices in the work for the protection of the environment, through their role as food producers, knowledge holders, and the first teachers of children.
In Mbororo communities in Chad, Indigenous women are the most affected by climate change because they are the ones collecting food, water, and traditional medicines for their families. Changes to their environment have cause increased hardship on the Mbororo who are pastoralist cattle headers, as they are forced to move more frequently to cope with increasing drought conditions.
What is the role of Indigenous Peoples in the current climate crisis? What responsibility do Indigenous Peoples feel towards Mother Earth today? Listen to three Indigenous women leaders give their perspectives on their feeling of the interconnection between all living things and our planet in the face of climate change, and what they feel should be done with that knowledge.
Lakes and forests in the Mt. Talinis area of the Phillipines are under threat from recent expansions of the energy industry. Apolinario Carino is working with the organization PENAGMANNAK, a federation of 17 Indigenous Peoples’ community groups, to pioneer community management strategies of reforestation designed to empower the Indigenous groups to shape the future of their lands. Apolinario hopes to share the knowledge that they have gained from these experiences in order to better combat climate change on a global scale.
Indigenous communities often hold invaluable knowledge about medicinal plants and healing practices rooted in the environment and resources of their traditional homelands. Anoop Pushkaran Krishnamma is working with the Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust in partnership with Indigenous communities in India to record and preserve this knowledge, allowing for healing practices to be utilized by future generations.
Ezekiel Tye Freeman is the executive director of Green-PRO, which helps Liberian communities develop sustainable livelihoods for self-reliance. Beekeeping training programs, for example, offer a lucrative and environmentally friendly economic alternative to mining or slash-and-burn farming for individuals. Freeman points to high levels of unemployment among Liberia's Indigenous population as a major problem that his organization wants to attempt to alleviate.
George ‘Bic’ Manahira describes how his community established the
world's first community-run octopus, sea grass, and mangrove reserve in partnership with Blue Ventures, a UK-based NGO, in order to strengthen the traditional sea-resource-based livelihood of the coastal Indigenous communities in Madagascar. They hope to expand and improve on the model in collaboration with other Indigenous groups and leaders in the coming years.
The Kalinga Mission for Indigenous Children and Youth, led by Donato Bumacas, promotes values of biodiversity conservation, with the goal of poverty reduction. These values are upheld using Indigenous traditional knowledge systems andd technologies to conserve and maintain the local forests. Sustainable Indigenous agricultural technology is implemented, with the goal of passing these systems down to future generations, as this knowledge was passed down to them.
In many Indigenous communities, dual justice systems operate in tandem: the European system, a colonial imposition characterized by hierarchical, punitive, written codicies, and the Indigenous system, which is often based in tradition and holistic in nature.
Human Rights Lawyer Michelle Cook (Dine') elaborates on the interactions between these two systems, and explains how communities can use the language of human rights to challenge the colonial legal system imposition in order to gain a seat at the table as independent nations with internationally recognized justice systems.