Weaving Indigenous and Western Ways of Knowing in Land and Water Conservation: Synthesis & Recommendations Towards Effective, Mutually Respectful and Beneficial Collaborations
Jeff Sha, MLWS 2021
Under the growing threat of climate change, the constraints of western scientific frameworks are becoming more apparent in the context of land, water, and resource management. As such, calls for bridging or weaving multiple ways of knowing, such as Indigenous knowledge, have been on the rise. Past interactions between Indigenous knowledge holders and Western scientists and decision-makers have been hampered by concerns regarding philosophical differences, cultural differences, Indigenous rights, and competing objectives. Despite a healthy number of interactions, synthesis of interactions and collaborations between Indigenous knowledge holders and western-counterparts have been scarce.
Through a literature review, a synthesis of these interactions, lessons learned, and a set of recommendations are provided in hopes to contribute to having effective, mutually respectful, and beneficial collaborations in the future. The literature review revealed that Indigenous worldviews and those of western science have differing philosophical roots that translate into how they approach conservation and management. In addressing these difficulties, I present a set of recommendations to empower Indigenous rights, involvement and voices, the Mi’kmaw Two-Eyed Seeing approach as well as three case studies as examples of effective, meaningful, mutually respectful and beneficial collaborations. The text concludes with an invitation for readers to reflect on their position in this conversation and explore the supplemented reading lists at their interest.