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Working with Indigenous Knowledge: A Guide for Researchers

Louise Grenier

Available formats

Experience has shown us that development efforts that ignore local technologies, local systems of knowledge, and the local environment generally fail to achieve their desired objectives. Examples abound of western-lead teams of researchers failing to consult properly with indigenous populations,with the resulting "advancements" quickly proving to be unsustainable or, tragically, destructive. Thankfully, this trend is slowly changing. In the 1990s, indigenous knowledge has been fertile ground for research, and a wealth of information now exists on the topic. The information, however, is disparate and no truly comprehensive guide exists, until now.

This guidebook zeros in on what indigenous knowledge can contribute to a sustainable development strategy that accounts for the potential of the local environment and the experience and wisdom of the indigenous population. Through an extensive review of field examples as well as current theory and practice, it provides a succinct yet comprehensive review of indigenous knowledge research and assessment. Working with Indigenous Knowledge will contribute to the improved design, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of any program of research and will appeal to both seasoned development professional as well as the novice or student just beginning a research career.

The author

Louise Grenier received her degree in environmental studies from York University in 1990. Since then, she has worked on environmental and indigenous-knowledge issues with the University of Indonesia, the Institute of Technology (Bandung, Indonesia), UNESCO, the ING Coalition, IDRC, and the Nunavut Impact Review Board Transition Team, where, among other duties, she provided research, advice, and technical support on how to integrate traditional knowledge into the environmental assessment process. Her expertise is in designing, implementing, and managing research and training activities that focus on equity, sustainability, and sound environmental practice.

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