Globalization, Knowledge Economy and the implication for Indigenous Knowledge

This International Review of Information Ethics paper describes how globalization and the knowledge economy have affected Indigenous Knowledge. Globalization and the knowledge economy have both exposed IK for the potential and actual value it has yielded to the world’s most powerful multinational corporations and at the same time, negated IK by viewing it as untried and untested until it is validate by Western technology. The paper goes on to describe some of the many ways in which Indigenous knowledge has been commercialized and used in inappropriate ways. For all of these reasons, the author concludes that Indigenous knowledge needs to be protected. Several means of protection were explored including:

–          enacting suigeneris laws

–          documenting IK

–          seeking contract licensing

The paper then goes on to describe several specific initiatives in the developing world that are aimed at providing the much needed intervention to protect and promote IK in the face of globalizations.


November 6, 2010   No Comments

Two Ways of Knowing

This is a 6 minute film trailer for an Inuvialuit Communications Society documentary which Christopher Yapp produced, filmed, wrote and edited.

The full 1 hour television episode is part of the Documentary Television Series, Ummatimnin, and broadcast on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) across Canada in 2010.

A variety of environmental issues being faced by Northern communities are mentioned with footage of the North and Arctic.  The point is made that climate change is a human issue not just a science issue.  Speakers compare the application of Western scientific knowledge and Indigenous traditional knowledge. They point out the need to connect the two types of knowledge to bring about a change of stewardship of the environment.

November 6, 2010   No Comments

Database of best practices on indigenous knowledge

Database of best practices on indigenous knowledge

The site is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is a database of articles that highlight indigenous knowledge.

The majority of the articles is from Africa. There are only two from North America, both from Canada. One of these discusses environmental issues surrounding Hudson’s Bay. From the article:

Indigenous knowledge is at the core of the practice and its value is immense. It was both the premise for and basis of the study: an historic, empowering and rewarding experience for many of the IK contributors. It was historic in that the IK contributors were cognisant of putting their orally communicated traditional ecological knowledge into writing for the first time in history. It was empowering in that they shared this mission with peers from many communities sharing the same environmental outlook, and they believed it would make a difference in the way decisions affecting the environment and communities of the Hudson Bay bioregion would be made.

It would be nice to see more articles from North America. Perhaps the lack of American participation is a reflection of the attitudes of government.

October 26, 2010   No Comments

United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme

The site is similar to the World Bank site discussed in Module three in that it explores using indigenous knowledge as a source to deal with problems being faced in the world today. The UN, partnered with the University of Swaziland, and Climate Prediction and Applications Centre have teamed up to create the site.

The purpose of the site is stated as:

“The website aims to ensure that
* This IK and its various applications are documented before it is lost forever.
* This information is made accessible to as many people as possible.
* Awareness of the importance of this knowledge is created amongst governments and policy makers so that they may begin to incorporate it in policy creation and various development programs.
* Custodians of this knowledge may have a forum through which they can share it with others. “

This site has links to a number of different knowledge areas, including nature conservation, natural disaster management, traditional medical practices, and poverty alleviation. While it focuses on Africa, this could be a model for applying indigenous knowledge around the world. The site also offers 118 page pdf file that contains a wealth of information. (
Book Cover

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the site is a searchable database of knowledge.
Database example

October 23, 2010   No Comments