CHOW Plenary Deep Dive — Indigenous and Local Knowledge: Wisdom for Strengthening Conservation

Tomol crossing at sunrise in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo credit: Robert Schwemmer/NOAA

Indigenous knowledge and wisdom strengthens our understanding of the planet and improves decision-making.  

People and societies who intimately know their local and surrounding environment through long periods of interactions develop philosophies, skills and understandings that inform fundamental aspects of day-to-day life. These Indigenous and local communities possess detailed knowledge of ecosystem and biodiversity trends and dynamics by virtue of their longstanding and intimate connection with the natural world.

The Western science community has previously failed to recognize Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK),  local knowledge and wisdom, and national and global discussions often fail to acknowledge and respect  it, too. This despite the fact that Indigenous communities often show greater success in sustaining their environment.

Allies and funders must support and respect Indigenous knowledge and the efforts of Indigenous communities to develop their own land and water management systems.

The panel will explore the co-existence of TEK and western science, while highlighting examples of how communities and scientists have effectively brought together Indigenous and local knowledge and wisdom to address ocean and Great Lakes health and climate impacts.

Join us for Capitol Hill Ocean Week’s “Indigenous and Local Knowledge and Wisdom for Strengthening Conservation” plenary, sponsored by the Marine Mammal Commission, for this discussion. Kyle Whyte, Ph.D, of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability moderates the panel featuring Ilarion ‘Kuuyux’ Merculieff of the Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways; Shavonne F. Smith, Environmental Director of the Shinnecock Indian Nation; Ayana Omilade Flewellen, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside and Board Member, Diving with a Purpose; and Allison Smart of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources Department.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 9 from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM EST to join the conversation during Capitol Hill Ocean Week.

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