Indigenous Knowledge Systems / Alaska Native Ways of Knowing
“While western science and educastion tend to emphasize compartmentalized knowledge which is often de-contextualized and taugh in the detached setting of a classroom or laboratory, indigenous people have traditionally acquired their knowledge through direct experience in the natural world. For them, the particulars come to be understood in relation to the whole, and the ‘laws' are continually tested in the context of everyday survival.” — Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley schoolingtheworld.org
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Indigenous peoples throughout the world have sustained their unique worldviews and associated knowledge systems for millennia, even while undergoing major social upheavals as a result of transformative forces beyond their control. Many of the core values, beliefs and practices associated with those worldviews have survived and are beginning to be recognized as having an adaptive integrity that is as valid for today’s generations as it was for generations past. The depth of indigenous knowledge rooted in the long inhabitation of a particular place offers lessons that can benefit everyone, from educator to scientist, as we search for a more satisfying and sustainable way to live on this planet.
Phi Beta Iota: We are at the end of the reductionist era, the big question is whether we can reintegrate knowledge before the sixth extinction is upon us by our own doing.