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Week 7 slides for the public environmental studies course #INDG2015: Indigenous Ecological Ways of Knowing

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#INDG2015 week 7 slides public

  1. 1. #INDG 2015 Dr. Zoe Todd October 21, 2020 Week 7: “Indigenous ecological knowledges: Asia” Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  2. 2. Class outline • Rubis and Theriault: Concealing Protocols • Oona Paredes: Rivers of Memory • Kimmerer: Black Ash baskets, Picking Sweetgrass, Maple Nation
  3. 3. Recap, week 6 • Tiffany Lethabo King: Black and Indigenous experiences of slavery, genocide • Sharpe: the Trans*Atlantic • Vaughn: climate change expertise through mangrove protection/restoration in Guyana
  4. 4. Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020Source: https://www.beltandroad.news/2020/05/08/new-era-of-regional-cooperation/
  5. 5. Countries in Asia • “Asia is the largest continent on Earth. It covers 9% of the Earth's total surface area (or 30% of its land area), and has the longest coastline, at 62,800 kilometres (39,022 mi). Asia is generally defined as comprising the eastern four-fifths of Eurasia. It is located to the east of the Suez Canal and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma–Manych Depression) and the Caspian and Black Seas.[7][44] It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. Asia is subdivided into 49 countries, five of them (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turk ey) are transcontinental countries and having part of their land in Europe.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia
  6. 6. Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Asia • Resources: • http://www.aitpn.org/ • 20 year old article from Cultural Survival about Indigenous struggles in Asia https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural -survival-quarterly/are-there-indigenous-peoples- asia#:~:text=So%2C%20rather%20than%20%60Indige nous',tribes'%20(Taiwan)%2C%20%60 • UN backgrounder in Indigenous Peoples in Asia https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/2 014/press/asia.pdf • International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) backgrounder on Indigenous issues in Asia https://iilj.org/wp- content/uploads/2016/08/Kingsbury-Indigenous- Peoples-in-International-Law-2.pdf
  7. 7. South-east Asia Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  8. 8. Rubis and Theriault • “In practice, many conservation interventions, particularly those led by government agencies and transnational NGOs, continue to conflict with and even disrupt Indigenous knowledges, livelihoods, and ecologies. And, as a result, even the most progressively minded projects too often work to normalize and propel the enclosure, commodification, and dispossession of Indigenous lands (see Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; Chernela, 2005; Dressler, 2009; Dressler et al., 2016; Theriault, 2017; West, 2006, 2016).” (p. 964)
  9. 9. Survivance • Rubis and Theriault invoke Gerald Vizenor’s concept of survivance: • “we are describing a form of what Anishinaabe author Gerald Vizenor calls ‘survivance’ manifestations of Indigenous world-making that are ‘more than survival, more than endurance or mere response; an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry’ (Vizenor,1998,p.15; cf.Povinelli,2011)” (Rubis and Theriault 2019, p. 964)
  10. 10. Gerald Vizenor ‘Gerald Robert Vizenor (born 1934) is an American writer and scholar, and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. Vizenor also taught for many years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was Director of Native American Studies. With more than 30 books published, Vizenor is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Vi zenor
  11. 11. Vizenor: Survivance https://beta.prx.org/stories/266444 Please listen to this short interview with Gerald Vizenor Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  12. 12. A conversation with Gerald Vizenor and Kimberly Blaeser • https://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=A9L VLUrNrh8&ab_chann el=Centerfor21stCen turyStudies A longer talk to listen to if you have time/for fun:
  13. 13. Rubis and Theriault • The conundrum of visibility (Rubis and Theriault) or recognition (Coulthard) • “As activists and scholars, we have been conditioned to think of institutional ‘visibility’ as a form of empowerment for socio-politically ‘invisible’ populations and therefore also a necessary part of accountable research. From this perspective, one important way to challenge misguided conservation policies would be to document and make visible that which they misapprehend or distort. But we have come to question this notion as a result of our respective research engagements with Indigenous communities in Sarawak and Palawan. Does the will to make visible, even among critical scholars and activists, unconsciously reproduce the impulse that drives the instrumentalizing documentation of ‘traditional ecological knowledge’ or the one that drives the ‘discovery,’ documentation, and securitization of new and threatened species (Lowe, 2004; Mitchell, 2016)?” (p. 965)
  14. 14. • “What we hope to add to the conversation is a provocation on how these ‘protocols of concealment’ constitute a form of survivance. In particular, we draw on Indigenous and non- Indigenous scholars who have stressed the importance of refusal and evasion in Indigenous peoples’ engagements with colonial actors and institutions. Indigenous ‘survivance,’ first described by Vizenor, refers to ‘an active sense of presence over historical absence, deracination and oblivion’ (Vizenor, 2009, p. 1). Survivance stories, for example, go beyond recurrent thematic motifs of silencing, domination, absence, tragedy; they also speak of the continuance and thriving of Indigenous presence(s) over and against powerful forces of assimilation and dispossession.” (Rubis and Theriaulst, p. 969) Indigenous peoples have the right NOT to share knowledge with Environmental NGOs, scientists, conservation groups:
  15. 15. Indigenous knowledge production and western academe • Thinking back to Vaughn’s article on climate change expertise from Week 6 – read this reflection from Bidayuh scholar June Rubis: • “My engagement with the Batang Ai-Lanjak-Entimau complex and the Iban communities who have been living in the complex for at least 400 years, began in the year 2003 and lasted for a period of four years. ...Yet at the end of my fieldwork, I did not pursue writing scientific articles, other than field reports to my NGO, donors and to the government agency. As a result, little to no international credit has been attributed to my work beyond some recognition in the Malaysian press. This was brought to my attention when an American scholar, who was writing about orang utan conservation research in Sarawak, was very surprised to hear about my years of work in the field. My work today is, therefore, part of an attempt to reclaim my story, not just for myself, but for other Indigenous women who have been written off, ignored, and silenced in many different ways, for our quiet interventions to protect lifeforms and landscapes in our lands.” (Rubis and Theriault 2019, p. 970)
  16. 16. ‘Knowledge transfer’ • When western environmentalists, American/Canadian/European/other colonial scholars write about Indigenous environmental knowledge in the Global South, all too often THEY become the people who are cited and credited with that knowledge. Indigenous environmental knowledge is all too often seen as a resource to mine/extract from and Indigenous people left nameless, faceless, uncredited by western actors. Indigenous people are often not seen as theorists, just repositories of ‘collective’ or ‘common’ knowledge for others (which erases Indigenous self- determination).
  17. 17. Learning questions/activity • There’s no way to to know for sure from the outside if environmental research is truly ethical, however by now we’ve read work by Nicholas Reo (2019) on relational accountability in environmental research. • Take a moment to list some characteristics of what ethical environmental research with Indigenous communities would look like given the materials we’ve covered so far
  18. 18. Points to consider Some characteristics/clues about whether environmental research on Indigenous communities is ethical (non-exhaustive list): • Indigenous people are cited directly and unambiguously; • evidence of accountability to local Indigenous legal orders; • Indigenous people from the community have seen the work that is published about them/have consented to be cited; • author credits Indigenous people by name for teaching them specific topics/ideas/skills (unless interlocutors explicitly request anonymity); • Indigenous people cited as theorists, thinkers, not just field assistants or helpers; • evidence of a long-term research relationship; • evidence Indigenous people from the community in question had a role in shaping the research, or better yet, lead the work; • Indigenous community members fairly remunerated for their time, labour, knowledge • Evidence of respect for Indigenous community sovereignty/self- determination • Inclusion of broad representation of community (reflects intra-and inter-community diversity of Indigenous communities)
  19. 19. • “RIVERS GIVE SOCIAL MEANING to the past and present lives of the ‘tribal’ Lumad peoples of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines” (Paredes, p. 329) Image: google maps
  20. 20. Rivers of Memory – Parades 2016 • “Drawing on two decades of field and archival research, I focus on one particular Lumad ethnic group – the Higaunon – as a case study. ‘Lumad’ is the umbrella term for the indigenous peoples of the southern Philippines whose ancestors did not convert to Islam in pre-colonial times. The Higaunon people, in turn, comprise one of the largest Lumad ethnic groups today, with their territory reaching across five different provinces in northern Mindanao.” (p.330)
  21. 21. • Rivers as major organizing force in Higaunon social life • “Another area of Higaunon life with a riverine dimension is in the determination of place identity itself. Place identity is: “…the process whereby people associated with a place take up that place as a significant part of their world. One unself-consciously and selfconsciously accepts and recognizes the place as integral to his or her personal and community identity and self- worth.” (Seamon 2015: 8)” (Parades p.342)
  22. 22. Learning questions • Revisit the watershed exercise we did in Week 3 • How do the insights you gained in thinking through your connections to bodies of water help you to analyze Parades’ discussion of Higaunon social life and water? What happens when we prioritize water/air in environmental discourses and momentarily move away from ‘land’ to define how ecologies are connected?
  23. 23. Dr. Oona Paredes • For further learning you may watch this talk by Dr. Paredes: • https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ly6uF5hDydY&ab_channel=SOA SUniversityofLondon Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  24. 24. Wisgaak Gokpenagen https://www.youtube.com/wa tch?v=yimlUtd0Pao&ab_chan nel=ECHOLeahyCenterforLake Champlain Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  25. 25. Kimmerer p. 147 Take only what you need - The Honourable Harvest
  26. 26. CopyrightProfessorZoeTodd2020 Kimmerer p. 149 • “Black ash and basket makers are partners in symbiosis between harvesters and harvested: ash relies on people as the people rely on ash. Their fates are linked.”
  27. 27. Mishkos Kenomagwen • ”experiments are not about discovery but about listening and translating the knowledge of other beings” (Kimmerer, p. 158)
  28. 28. Kimmerer p. 162 Sweetgrass thrives when harvested with care (honourable harvest) Copyright Professor Zoe Todd 2020
  29. 29. Maple Nation • Ecosystem Services: Kimmerer p. 169 • “Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, that maintain the conditions for life on Earth.” • (United Nations Environment Program, “http://www.unep.org/maweb/documents/do cument.300.aspx.pdf)
  30. 30. Ecosystem services: (Kimmerer p. 169) http://www.nerc-bess.net/what-is-bess/what-are- ecosystem-services/
  31. 31. What are some potential drawbacks to ‘ecosystems services’ as a framework? • “the question is, how do we do well by them?” (Kimmerer p. 170) • Sustainability • Picking Sweetgrass example from the previous chapter http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/30/scent- success-sweetgrass-business-grows-151496
  32. 32. Maple Nation Bill of Responsi- bilities • In class activity: • What would OUR Bill of Responsibilities look like for this class, based on the topics we are covering? What needs would you underscore? What responsibilities would you include? • Map these out. See if the things you listed change over the course of the next week. Annotate and edit as needed. • At the end of the week: do you have a bill of responsibilities that reflects your lived experience? • If you like – try holding onto this bill for a while longer – weeks, months. Revisit as you can and see if things shift and whether more-than- human beings figure into your list of responsibilities
  33. 33. Summary • Rubis and Theriault: the right to Indigenous peoples to conceal knowledge from extractive organizations/institutions/individuals; survivance • Paredes: rivers in social organization; watery relations • Ash baskets • Sweetgrass harvesting • Maple Nation: responsibility based societies vs. western liberal rights based frameworks (who am I responsible to in my survivance?)
  34. 34. Weekly participation grade assignment • How can we apply the concept of honourable harvest and symbiosis between harvester and the beings that are harvested (as shown with ash basket making and sweetgrass) into our own daily experiences. What is an example of a relationship you have with more-than-human beings where your interactions with them are positive/support their flourishing?

Week 7 slides for the public environmental studies course #INDG2015: Indigenous Ecological Ways of Knowing

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