Indigenous knowledge and peoples: Training of IKAP trainers - Methods (2004)

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The technological expansion of modern scientific knowledge has brought to the world significant improvements. At the same time, the practical consequences of accelerated technological changes are visible in the deep ecological crisis faced by the planet which is affecting local communities. This alarming situation is partially due to top-down methods in which the expansion of modern scientific knowledge has taken place, reducing the confidence and reliance of rural peoples in their knowledge for making decisions over the use of their local resources. The awareness of this crisis is a felt need among environmental politicians, development agents, scientists, ecological activists and social movements of indigenous peoples for reorienting the conventional development paradigm towards sustainability. That means rethinking, among other issues, how to reestablish the role of rural people?s knowledge as a main source of solutions for their productive systems within ecologically sound mental and action frames. The last two decades of the twentieth century witnessed a growing acknowledgment that indigenous knowledge together with the scientific knowledge of outsiders can jointly develop ways to reestablish harmony in the production of food, while ensuring the conservation and local control of natural and cultural resources. Particularly in the last decade there has been growing support for local practices based on knowledge about agro-biodiversity and recognition of this complex system as a relevant source that can contribute to the enhancement of local cultures as a basis for biological diversity conservation. These new insights imply a personal shift in the values of scientists or outsiders. They are assessing their own personal ethic as well as their theoretical principles, scientific concepts, and research and action methods in a critical and constructive way. The IK approach is one of the experiences understood as a learning process vis-à-vis the local versus modern forms of knowledge about biodiversity conservation. It provides the scientists, or outsiders, the opportunity to reorient their skills in order to play a new and creative and role in the generation of knowledge for sustainability. IK methods address principally the issue of participation claimed by indigenous people: they want to be heard and considered as subjects in the process of decision-making. If we translate this political demand to our field of action, it means that we as outsiders assume the role of facilitators of a process of interaction with indigenous people in which they are the main actors in the expression of IK, the identification of promising ideas of experimentation, and the last word to decide about the necessary activities to keep the ideas alive over the long-term.
Language: English
, 2004.



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