The construction of traditional ecological knowledge, issues, implications and insights

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Simpson, Leanne R.
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Indigenous Peoples living in North America have been using their knowledge to live sustainably for thousands and thousands of years. Recently, the dominant society has developed an interest in what has become known as Traditional Ecological or Environmental Knowledge (TEK). The objective of this study is to examine the concept of TEK from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives using the current literature and my own experiences in a First Nation community; to use an appropriate non-western methodology to learn about Indigenous Knowledge from members of a First Nation; and to use my experiences working with the community to demonstrate how western society constructs TEK, the implications of textualizing oral knowledge and of sharing knowledge in terms of marginalization and the appropriation. Chapter One provides an introduction and a brief theoretical overview of TEK research in Canada, and Chapter Two consists of a literature review of TEK and its uses by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal societies. Chapter Three is a detailed outline of the Anishinaabe methods of inquiry, including learning-by-doing, dreaming, ceremonies, story telling and self knowledge. Chapter Four consists of a personal narrative that is interwoven with excerpts from Aboriginal experts in the literature regarding TEK and discusses the manufacturing of TEK by the dominant society, textualizing, sharing knowledge and the misappropriation of TEK. Chapter Five concludes by pulling together a series of recommendations for TEK research in the future.