has been and can be defined many different ways depending on who
is doing the defining. But one thing that is certain is that "science"
is culturally relative. In other words, what is considered science
is dependent on the culture/worldview/paradigm of the definer."
Leroy Little Bear, J.D., Ph.D
Foreword to Native Science, Natural Laws of Interdependence
seriousness of environmental issues, a language bridge provided
by the quantum world and the existence of a generation of Indigenous
scholars has fueled the confluence of native and western epistemologies
and revealed an emerging vision of a 21st century scientific paradigm.
A superb science that embraces cognitive pluralism nourished by
an ongoing dialogue between Western science; young, immediate,
vital, adventurous, vibrant, passionate and committed in its exploration
of fragments and dualities. Native science; in relationship with
an animate universe, observing from within the processes of creation
as an acknowledged participant, following the collaborative spiral
that circles from observation to information, to knowledge, its
approaches and methodologies matured over centuries have had the
time needed for knowledge to fully develop into wisdom, inclusive
and interrelated, informed through layers of relationship.
is revealed is a science of the whole, a science of inter- relationship
and logic, interdependence and rationality, of deep capacities
to sense and know, of reason, rigor, plurality and collaboration.
21st Century Science. Science that draws from, shares and communicates
with and recognizes itself as part of the communities, species
and elements that create life. A science with multiple perceptions
of time, of technology as art and craft and of the manner in which
knowledge moves through and arises from the natural order.
ways of knowing exist in the world. In this new century it is
necessary for them to be embraced co-equally. Western and Native
ways of knowing are envisioned here as an infinity symbol, showing
the two processes maintaining their inherent integrity while interpenetrating,
providing nourishment, creativity
and possibilities. An interrelationship that cannot help but enrich
the scientific endeavor through the exploration of different ways
Science § Western Science
opening of a portal into the Indigenous understandings of the
whole, the emergence of the Native paradigm and the body of knowledge
held by Indigenous peoples signals the potential for the birth
of another paradigmatic shift. An enrichment in the study and
appreciation of what "to know" or what "science"
Exploration of Native Science
Broad Objectives of the Explorations into Science Project
Native American Academy Home
knowledge systems, as
dynamic expressions of
perceiving and understanding
the world, can make and
historically have made, a
to science and technology.
is a need to preserve,
protect, research and promote
Declaration of global
World Conference on Science
Twenty First Century:
the authority of
United Nations Education
Scientific and Cultural
encountering the expression "Native Science" it is quite
natural to ask, "In what sense can the traditional knowledge
systems of indigenous peoples be understood as science?" Western
science is couched in terms of mathematical and mechanistic theories,
and possesses a well-developed hypothetical, deductive and experimental
knowledge systems incorporate many but not all of these elements,
and they are embedded in a larger social and human context. Therefore,
interpreting "science" in the narrowest sense can render
traditional knowledge systems "non-science."
believe this is shortsighted. Despite the remarkable accomplishments
and benefits of science and technology over the last 500 years,
it would be arrogant in the extreme to regard this period as the
start of all science. Humans possessing equivalent cognitive, emotional
and spiritual capacities have lived in stable human communities
for many thousands of years. Moreover, many of these societies have
come to value observation and the understanding of nature, combined
with societal arrangements for holding, developing, and applying
knowledge gained thereby for common benefit.
that the advances of Western Science have at times also had unforeseen
and significant negative consequences on the Earth and human society,
it is timely to broaden the concept of science so as to include
other systems of knowledge that may be more attuned to complex interdependencies
between human innovation and the social and natural environment.
collaborations exist between Western and Native scientists in environmental
research, land use, geographic information science, and hydrology.
For example, ethnobotanist and MacArthur fellow Gary Nabhan's project
"Native Seed Search" was conducted in collaboration with
traditional knowledge holders.