Issues related to sharing traditional knowledge vs knowledge protection

  • It comes down to credibility – protecting cultural sites.
    • Grandmother said – don’t put pen to paper, you can’t trust people
  • Native people have developed a spatial analysis with land and culture. We need to establish a way to protect that.
  • We don’t want to write our knowledge into a database because it can be stolen
  • Potential solution: What if you identify people who hold the knowledge and share that?
  • At  USGS, when we are out working with someone from a tribe, if the tribe doesn’t want it known we don’t write it down, because if we write it down we are obligated to publish it.
  • I am a biologist working for a tribe. Working with the tribe is fantastic. We have shared values. Through federal agencies there is a lot of money available if tribes are a partner.
    • Scientists and tribal people can accomplish a lot if they work together
  • The use of traditional Cultural Property is under federal protection. There are specific ways of documenting it to conserve the landscape
  • I wouldn’t worry about them acquiring our knowledge so much. If you want to learn something, it takes a mentor and it takes a long time. It has value.
    • I don’t think Western Science sees it that way.
    • Western Science doesn’t see a worldview, connections, continuity. They are missing so much in not opening their minds.

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