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A very controversial conversation between people all around the world, is the accuracy of Indigenous knowledge compared to Western scientific knowledge. Indigenous knowledge is dynamic and its methods are specific to the cultures and Indigenous people who practice them. This type of knowledge can be divided into three categories which are: traditional knowledge (from generation to generation), empirical knowledge (gained from observation), and revealed knowledge (acquired spiritual knowledge and recognized as a gift). This type of knowledge encompasses the vibrant relationship between the people, their environment, and other living things and spirits that share their land (Alfred, 2009). Indigenous knowledge is all about connecting and appreciating the people, community and environment that is surrounding you. 0

Western scientific knowledge considers the laws of physical and social systems. The belief is if you can measure something then it exists, therefore all things must be quantifiable. Reality is therefore “real” by terms of objective mathematical relationships. Western scientific knowledge needs to be proven and backed by theories. 

The points of convergence include that both ways of knowledge are empirical and the methodologies require people to be observant. I personally think that many people believe that Indigenous Ways of Knowledge is not reliable due to the fact it is based on cultural and spiritual views, and that you must be Aboriginal to use it. People should remember that Indigenous knowledge is observations by people who have passed down information, through real life experiences. The information is passed down through academics who are well versed in their studies, but just take a different approach of communicating and applying the knowledge. 

All information is referenced from power points by Rick Fehr - UWO

February 21, 2015

Written by: Janani Thillainathan

Indigenous Ways of Knowing Vs. Western Scientific Knowledge