Whyte, Kyle. 2015. What Do Indigenous Knowledges Do for Indigenous Peoples? SSRN.

Whyte, Kyle. 2015. What Do Indigenous Knowledges Do for Indigenous Peoples? SSRN.
Year Published

This essay is written to address conversations about the best ways to engage in knowledge exchange on important sustainability issues between Indigenous knowledges and fields of climate, environmental and sustainability sciences. In terms of sustainability, a crucial facet of the self-determination of peoples such as Indigenous nations and communities is the responsibility and the right to make plans for the future using planning processes that are inclusive, well-informed, culturally-relevant, and respectful of human interdependence with nonhumans and the environment. Indigenous knowledges often play a crucial role in Indigenous planning processes. In my work, I have found that scientists often appreciate what I will call here the supplemental-value of Indigenous knowledges — the value of Indigenous knowledges as inputs for adding (i.e. supplementing) data that scientific methods do not normally track. In the domain of supplemental-value, Indigenous people’s planning processes will improve, in turn, by having access to the supplemented and hence improved science. But it is also the case that Indigenous knowledges have governance-value. That is, they serve as irreplaceable sources of guidance for Indigenous resurgence and nation-building. Scientists should appreciate governance-value because it suggests that for some Indigenous peoples in knowledge exchange situations, we need to be assured that the flourishing of our knowledges is respected and protected.