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WIS2DOM, Weaving Indigenous and Sustainability Sciences: Diversifying our Methods


Project start
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Type of project
Project theme
Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Education & Outreach
Culture & history

Project details

Science / project summary

This award provides funding for a 3 1/2 day workshop, the goal of which is to uncover new information and/or understandings that can be gained by bringing together Indigenous and sustainability science and ultimately used to inform sustainable practices. The workshop will challenge key thinkers in these areas to cultivate mutually conducive and appropriate principles, protocols, and practices that address the global need to sustain resilient landscapes. This workshop is a direct response to a previous weeklong workshop held in 2010, "Indigenous Ecological Knowledges and Geographic Information Systems: Exploring ontologically Compatible Techniques and Technologies." The workshop was an international interdisciplinary group of Indigenous scholars, cultural practitioners, students and non-Indigenous scholars working with or for Indigenous communities to discuss the development of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) capable of representing Indigenous perspectives of modeling environmental phenomena. The organizer of the workshop, the late Dr. Deanna Kingston of Oregon State University, concluded at the completion of the workshop, "We learned two things: 1. Each Indigenous community as well as each academic discipline is at a different developmental stage of understanding, the who, what, when, where, and why of SDI representation, which means we needed to collectively identify the starting point and path for this kind of project. 2. One of the points of collective agreement was the necessity of relating to our environments through sustainable principles, protocols, and practices (Hi'iaka Working Group, 2011)." The WIS2DOM workshop will build on the lessons learned from the first workshop, by facilitating the concluding perspective that indigenous peoples who maintain a strong connection with their territory through subsistence or sustainable agriculture have a deep spatial knowledge that fully integrates humans into the natural world, a knowledge that is not fundamentally different from the developing transdisciplinary science of sustainability. The PIs maintain that despite holding a similar vision of sustaining resilient landscapes, Indigenous and sustainability sciences have not entered into dialogue on how to accomplish this common goal. The research team and organizers of this workshop recognize the value of ontological pluralism with regard to advancing scientific research and through this proposed workshop, will bring Indigenous and sustainability scientists into dialogue in order to diversify methods toward meeting common goals. The PIs recognize that dialogue across ontological boundaries poses significant challenges, but believe that the relationship between Indigenous and sustainability science is not dichotomous but is instead significantly complimentary. This project will create a welcoming space for the exchange of ideas and concepts between what have previously been conceptualized as very divergent knowledge systems.