Indigenous Knowledges and the Environment Symposium

November 23, 2007

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Ponderosa Centre, Arbutus & Dogwood Rooms

Organized and co-sponsored by the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, the Koutu Nui of the Cook Islands, the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education, and the Indigenous Education Institute of Canada.

This full-day symposium offered perspectives on the global environmental crisis from the lens of Indigenous knowledges. The diversity and plurality of Indigenous ways of knowing (traditional, academic, scientific and activist) was used to explore the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities, from the Cook Islands to Vancouver Island, as well as what constitutes Indigenous environmentalist responses at various sites and across different academic disciplines (e.g., anthropology, education, health sciences).  The plenary panel, “Shifting Tides: Indigenous Responses to Global Climate Change” was composed of Indigenous figures from Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, Vancouver Island, and the Koutu Nui of the Cook Islands.  Other panels, which included UBC faculty, visiting scholars, the UBC Environment Caucus and graduate student representatives addressed “Indigeneity, Environmentalism and the Disciplines” and “More Environmentalisms” (e.g., not necessarily Indigenous). An Aboriginal scholar from Australia drew on Australian Aboriginal communities’ experiences to provide the symposium’s concluding statement.


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