Sustainability Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 25–32 | Cite as

Weaving Indigenous science, protocols and sustainability science

  • Kyle Powys Whyte
  • Joseph P. BrewerII
  • Jay T. Johnson
Special Feature: Case Report Weaving Indigenous and Sustainability Sciences to Diversify Our Methods (WIS2DOM)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Weaving Indigenous and Sustainability Sciences to Diversify Our Methods (WIS2DOM)

Abstract

The proceedings of the National Science Foundation supported WIS2DOM workshop state that sustainability scientists must respect the “protocols” of practitioners of Indigenous sciences if the practitioners of the two knowledge systems are to learn from each other. Indigenous persons at the workshop described protocols as referring to attitudes about how to approach the world that are inseparable from how people approach scientific inquiry; they used the terms caretaking and stewardship to characterize protocols in their Indigenous communities and nations. Yet sustainability scientists may be rather mystified by the idea of protocols as a necessary dimension of scientific inquiry. Moreover, the terms stewardship and caretaking are seldom used in sustainability science. In this case report, the authors seek to elaborate on some possible meanings of protocols for sustainability scientists who may be unaccustomed to talking about stewardship and caretaking in relation to scientific inquiry. To do so, the authors describe cases of Indigenous protocols in action in relation to scientific inquiry in two Indigenous-led sustainability initiatives in the Great Lakes/Midwest North American region. We claim that each case expresses concepts of stewardship and caretaking to describe protocols in which humans approach the world with the attitude of respectful partners in genealogical relationships of interconnected humans, non-human beings, entities and collectives who have reciprocal responsibilities to one another. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of Indigenous protocols for future dialog between practitioners of sustainability and Indigenous sciences.

Keywords

Reciprocity Guardianship Caretaking Stewardship Ethics Indigenous science Sustainability science Meskawki Anishinaabe Traditional ecological knowledge 

References

  1. Berkes F (2008) Sacred ecology: traditional ecological knowledge and resource management. Taylor & Francis, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  2. Cajete GA (2014) Re-building sustainable indigenous communities: applying native science. In: Johnson JT, Louis RP Kliskey A (eds) Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences: diversifying our methods. National Science Foundation, Arlington, pp 36–39Google Scholar
  3. Clark WC (2007) Sustainability science: a room of its own. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104(6):1737–1738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup [CTKW] (2014) Guidelines for considering traditional knowledges in climate change initiatives. https://climatetkw.wordpress.com/guidelines/. Accessed 25 March 2015
  5. Deloria V, Wildcat DR (2001) Power and place: Indian education in America. Fulcrum Publishing, GoldenGoogle Scholar
  6. Forsyth T (1911–12) Manners and customs of the Sauk and Fox Nations of Indians. In: Blair EH (ed) The Indian tribes of the Upper Mississippi Valley and region of the Great Lakes, vol 2.AH Clark Co, Cleveland, pp 183–245, online facsimile at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1606
  7. Holtgren M (2013) Bringing Us Back to the River. In: Auer N, Dempsey D (eds) The Great Lake Sturgeon. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, pp 133–147Google Scholar
  8. Holtgren M, Ogren S, Whyte KP (2014) Renewing relatives: Nmé Stewardship in a shared watershed. Tales of hope and caution in environmental justice. http://hfe.wfu.edu/blog/2014/renewing-relatives-nme-stewardship-in-a-shared-watershed/. Accessed 25 March 2015
  9. Jerneck A, Olsson L, Ness B, Anderberg S, Baier M, Clark E, Hickler T, Hornborg A, Kronsell A, Lövbrand E, Persson J (2011) Structuring sustainability science. Sustain Sci 6:69–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnson JT (2013) Kaitiakitanga: telling the stories of Māori self-determination in resource management. In: Johnson JT, Larsen SC (eds) A deeper sense of place: stories and journeys of Indigenous-academic collaboration. Oregon State University Press, Corvalis, pp 127–138Google Scholar
  11. Johnson JT, Louis RP, Kliskey A (2014) Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences: diversifying our methods. National Science Foundation, Arlington, pp 1–116Google Scholar
  12. Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani K (2014) Hawaii Environmental Kinship. In: Johnson JT, Louis RP Kliskey A (eds). Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences: diversifying our methods, National Science Foundation, Arlington, pp 77–78Google Scholar
  13. Kimmerer R (2013) Returning the gift. What does Earth ask of us? Center for humans and nature. http://www.humansandnature.org/returning-the-gift-response-80.php
  14. Komiyama H, Takeuchi K (2006) Sustainability science: building a new discipline. Sustain Sci 1:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Little Bear L (2000) Jagged worldviews colliding. In: Battiste M (ed) Reclaiming indigenous voice and vision. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp 77–85Google Scholar
  16. McGregor D (2009) Honouring Our Relations: An Anishnaabe Perspective on Environmental Justice. In: Agyeman J, Cole P, Haluza-Delay R (eds) Speaking for ourselves: environmental justice in Canada. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp 27–41Google Scholar
  17. McGregor D (2014) Theoretical considerations for indigenous scientific traditions. In: Johnson JT, Louis RP, Kliskey A (eds). Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences: diversifying our methods. National Science Foundation, Arlington, pp 81–84Google Scholar
  18. Mitchell J (2013) N’me. In: Auer N, Dempsey D (eds) The Great Lake Sturgeon. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, pp 21–26Google Scholar
  19. Mohawk J, Barreiro J (2010) Thinking in Indian: a John Mohawk reader. Fulcrum Publishing, GoldenGoogle Scholar
  20. Momaday NS (1976) Native American attitudes to the environment. In: Capps WH (ed) Seeing with a native eye: essays on native American religion. Harper and Row, New York, pp 79–85Google Scholar
  21. Rundstrom R, Deur D (1999) Reciprocal appropriation: toward and ethics of cross-cultural research. In: Proctor JD, Smith DM (eds) Geography and ethics: journeys in a moral terrain. Routledge, London New York, pp 237–250Google Scholar
  22. Sakakibara C (2010) Kiavallakkikput Agviq (Into the Whaling Cycle): Cetaceousness and climate change among the Iñupiat of arctic Alaska. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 100(4):1003–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wark K (2014) WIS2DOM–Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences:diversifying our methods workshop. In: Johnson JT, Louis RP, Kliskey A (eds) Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences: diversifying our methods. National Science Foundation, Arlington, pp 101–103Google Scholar
  24. Whyte KP (2013) On the role of traditional ecological knowledge as a collaborative concept: a philosophical study. Ecological Processes 2:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wildcat DR (2013) Introduction: climate change and indigenous peoples of the USA. Clim Change 120:509–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Williams T, Hardison P (2013) Culture, law, risk and governance: contexts of traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation. Clim Change 120:531–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle Powys Whyte
    • 1
  • Joseph P. BrewerII
    • 2
  • Jay T. Johnson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies ProgramUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations