Ways of Knowing: The Integration of Indigenous Knowledge and Scientific Knowledge for Natural Resource Management

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Jan 10, 2015
Amity Doolittle

This case study explores the nature of indigenous knowledge (IK) and scientific knowledge (SK) in terms of natural resource management. The goal of the case study is to encourage students to think critically about the nature of different ways of knowing the natural world and different types of evidence or data; to consider how to integrate IK and SK for natural resource management; to explore how knowledge integration would benefit natural resource management, indigenous peoples and the scientific community; and finally to consider some of the obstacles to knowledge integration. Students will analyze data sets from both IK and SK; read a peer reviewed, scientific article that provides a comprehensive and practical illustration of knowledge integration for natural resource management; and reflect on the pros and cons of future knowledge integration for natural resource management from the perspective of both scientists and indigenous peoples. The case is designed in three sections, with each section getting more complex in terms of learning goals, moving from acquiring basic knowledge, to understanding how to apply basic knowledge to real world circumstances, to being able to summarize and evaluate knowledge systems, to being able to analyze, synthesize and finally debate the pros and cons of different knowledge systems, in reference to natural resource management.

Estimated time frame: 
SES learning goals: 
  • Consider the importance of scale and context in addressing socio-environmental problems
  • Co-develop research questions and conceptual models in inter- or trans-disciplinary teams
  • Find, analyze, and synthesize existing data, concepts, or methods
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