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Traditional Ecological Knowledge


Traditional Ecological Knowledge By: Kala Bremner Outline What is TEK and what are the risks 2 types of knowledge What does TEK do TEK and the global community TEK in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • By Kala Bremner

  • What is TEK and what are the risks
  • 2 types of knowledge
  • What does TEK do
  • TEK and the global community
  • TEK in Nanaimo area
  • Categories of TEK
  • Problems facing TEK and Scientific Knowledge
  • Co-management
  • Conclusion

What is TEK
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge refers to
  • the body of knowledge amassed over generations
    by Indigenous people with respect to their
    environment, and can be both spiritual and
    ecological in nature
  • (Doubleday, 1993).

  • Transmitted orally over generations through
    songs, stories and other forms.
  • Oral traditions are at risk of being lost if
    native language is no longer used or culture is
    disrupted through governments policies both past
    and present.
  • Often encompasses spiritual events.
  • Recent introduction of western
  • religions often hinder the
  • ability for a group of people
  • to practice their traditions as
  • seen as uncivilized.

Types of place specific Knowledge
  • Local knowledge
  • doesnt have to have any historical
  • component.
  • Refers to any learnt knowledge of a place be it
    location based knowledge or non-traditional
  • Relevant to a specific time and place.
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Knowledge that is culturally specific or passed
    on by Indigenous peoples over generations.
  • Unique to a specific society and culture.
  • Takes into account learnt behaviors with respect
    to the environment.

What does TEK do?
  • Continuously tested
  • Based on practices that have been in place over
    hundreds even thousands of years in some cases.
  • Allows people to have a close connection with the
    natural environment.
  • Teaches children and young people environmentally
    friendly practices.
  • Works to use the environment and its resources
    in a sustainable manor.
  • Focuses on the knowledge of elders and the
    importance of them in a society.

The introduction of TEK globally
  • 1987- The Brundland report published by The
    United Nations World Commissions on Environment
    and Development.
  • 1992- Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
  • 1996 Canada contributed the Aboriginal
    Forest-based Ecological Knowledge in Canada.
  • (Natural Resource Canada, 1997)

TEK on Vancouver Island
  • Ecotrust Canada
  • Georgia Basin Action Plan
  • Nanaimo Bird Alert
  • Gengenlilas preschool in Campbell River

Current problems facing TEK
  • Risk of being lost as less importance is given to
    indigenous peoples knowledge.
  • Loss of traditional language often associated
    with loss of culture and traditional practices.
  • Western ideas often hinder traditional knowledge.
  • Economic incentives and western ideals have the
    ability to influence indigenous groups.
  • Introduction and expansion of Western way of life
    often equals a loss of traditional ways of life.

Scientific Knowledge and TEK
  • TEK is a system of knowledge, parallel and
    complementary to "Western scientific knowledge,"
    which can be organized into three categories,
    each of which has its Western scientific
    equivalent (Environment, 1996).
  • 3 categories
  • Systematics- in-depth classification systems.
  • Use and development of new technologies for
    activities such as hunting and fishing.
  • Understanding the ecology of plants and animals
    in a intricate web of life.

Problems with Scientific Knowledge
  • Doesnt take into account indigenous knowledge
  • Can appear to be moral free
  • Is purely based on scientific knowledge
  • Often appears to put economical progress above
    environmental values
  • Can create an unstable economy based on resource
    extraction instead of incorporating resource
    management strategies

  • Set up to integrate aspects of both indigenous
    knowledge (TEK) and state level governments
  • State level governments traditionally use
    information attained by the
  • scientific community
  • Indigenous knowledge is
  • that passed on
  • through generations.
  • Co-management works to
  • incorporate both groups
  • together
  • Incorporates anything from
  • resource management to
  • world views and religious
  • practices

  • TEK is knowledge that aboriginal people have
    accumulated over generations due to having a
    close and intimate relationship with the earth,
    including seasonal cycles, animals and natural
  • Incorporating co-management programs in Natural
    Resource management is important as both groups
    bring important and relevant aspects into the

  • Doubleday, Nancy
  • 1993 Finding Common Ground Natural Law and
    Collective Wisdom,
  • in J.T. Inglis (Editor) Traditional Ecological
    Knowledge Concepts
  • and Cases. Ottawa, Ontario Canadian Museum of
    Nature .
  • Environment Cananda
  • 1996, The state of Canadas Environment
    retrieved March 15th, 2008,
  • from http//
  • Johnson, Martha.
  • 1992, LORE Capturing Traditional Environmental
    Knowledge. Ottawa, Ont Dene cultural institute
    and the international Development Research
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • 1997, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of
    Aboriginal Peoples, Retrieved March 13th, 2008,
    from http//
  • Tsuji, L, J,K,.
  • 1996, Loss of Cree traditional Ecological
    knowledge in the Western James Bay regions of
    Northern Ontario, Canada A case study of the
    Sharp- tailed grouse. North York, Ontario York
    University. Retrieved March 15, 2008 from

Hidden answer to the amazingly fun crossword
  • In my opinion, preserving traditional ecological
    knowledge for future generations to come is