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Biology: Indigenous science and ways of knowing

Staying current


Recommended Reading

Critical texts exploring traditional ecological knowledge and biodiversity

"Contrary to the Western approach that seeks to dominate and interrogate nature, Indigenous societies and knowledge systems have developed to sustain reciprocal relationships between culture and nature and therefore utilize scientific approaches that are rigorous in their own methods and rely on long-term observations. " (Johnson, 2016)

Johnson, J. T. et al. (2016) Weaving Indigenous and sustainability sciences to diversify our methods. Sustainability science. [Online] 11 (1), 1–11.

"When we try to standardize biodiversity, we lose some of the nuance and some of the beauty. (Owens, 2019)

Owens, B. (2019) How one Canadian scientist is tapping into the knowledge of Indigenous communities. Nature (London). [Online]
"[training] Indigenous scientists in genomics so that they can introduce that field's tools to their communities as well as bring a sorely needed Indigenous perspective to research" (Wade, 2018)

Wade, L. (2018) To overcome decades of mistrust, a workshop aims to train Indigenous researchers to be their own genome experts. Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science). [Online]

(P)articipatory Research

"...participatory environmental restoration uses both local/Indigenous knowledge and Western science. In some cases, local knowledge can provide essential information not otherwise available to science."(Johnson, 2016)



Understanding Socio-Technological Systems Change through an Indigenous Community-Based Participatory Framework

Figure 1. Michigan Community Anishinaabe and Rural Energy Sovereignty (MICARES) Medicine Wheel Framework.

Schaefer, M. et al., 2021. Understanding Socio-Technological Systems Change through an Indigenous Community-Based Participatory Framework. Sustainability, 13(4), p.2257. Available at:


"Participatory conservation planning aims for the use of complementary knowledge from Western science and local/Indigenous communities. As in the case of monitoring, participatory conservation planning makes use of scale complementarities between the two kinds of knowledge" (Johnson, 2016).

Finding academic literature

Hedges are standardized search strategies that can be used to help retrieve relevant articles.Hedges are also called filters, clinical queries, or optimal search strategies. They are not a guarantee of retrieving quality research; you still need to critically appraise results for quality and relevance.

Connect with your subject librarian for assistance in utilizing these comprehensive search filters.