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Reflection paper on Indigenous Knowledge

You are required to reference at least 2 pieces of course material in your reflection and
you may choose to bring in outside sources if you wish but it is not required.

Each reflection should be no more than 750-1000 words.

The suggested structure for your reflection is as follows:

? Introduction (1 paragraph) – Briefly summarize the topic and identify your 2-3

? Body (1-3 paragraphs) – Referencing the course material (you may bring in
outside sources if you wish but it is not required), explain and examine your 2-3
“takeaways.” You may find it useful to consider one or a few of the following

o How has the material challenged/reinforced your ideas about this topic?

o Did anything make you uncomfortable and if so, why or why not?

o Did anything really strike a chord with you? What got your attention and why?

o Did you have an emotional or strong response to anything? What prompted it?

? Conclusion (1 paragraph) – Identify how your reaction to the materials and your
“takeaways” will impact you in your professional role and/or personal life. You
may also consider if any additional questions about the material have arisen as a
result of your reflection.

? References (1 page) – List all your references in APA format.

Wilson, A. (2004). Indigenous knowledge recovery is Indigenous empowerment.
American Indian Quarterly, 28(3/4) p. 359-372

Tribal Trade Co. 2020. What is the medicine wheel? – Watch the video.

Powerpoint attached

Task %

Proper APA formatting – References page,
citations, etc. (10%)

Clear writing – Spelling, grammar,
punctuation, syntax, etc. (10%)


Content of paper:

Introduction (10%) – Properly identified
takeaways and summarized topic.

Body (50%) – Explained and properly
supported at least 2-3 takeaways.

Conclusion (15%) – Specifically identified
how their reaction and takeaways will
impact them in their work and personal


Referenced at least 2 pieces of course
material (5%)


Total: 100%

Week 11: Indigenous Knowledge

INHS 100

Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge is a difficult concept to define

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous peoples in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide

Therefore, Indigenous knowledge should be viewed as complex knowledge systems that have developed overtime by a particular people in a particular area that has been transmitted from generation to generation

Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge is strongly linked to the natural world: Indigenous languages, cultural practices, and oral traditions are intimately connected to the earth (Hill, 2013)

The knowledge is not static or fixed – embedded is a keen belief in both adaptability and change

Spiritually and ancestrally inspired

Balance and holistic harmony are essential

Different Knowings. (2013). Rick Hill: What is Indigenous Knowledge. Youtube.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ6gvd-HaP8.


Indigenous Knowledge

Although the definition of Indigenous knowledge is difficult to pin down, there are a number of overarching concepts that are attached to it.

Indigenous knowledge is considered:

















Source: Adapted from Indigenous Corporate Training https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/what-does-indigenous-knowledge-mean


Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous vs. Western knowledge (Modified and adapted from Baker, 2016, citing Nisbett, 2003).14  The Common Ground overlap can be thought of as Sahtouris’ “third leg of the stool”.


Indigenous Knowledge: Health

Indigenous knowledge views health in a holistic manner.

An individual’s health, like many other aspects of a person, is interconnected to the people, the land, and the world they live in.

These connections, as seen in the image to the right, can be described as 5 circles extending away from any one person.

Indigenous Knowledge: Health

Center = Individual person. Indigenous wellness starts with the individual

Second Circle = Different aspects of health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)

Third Circle = Overarching values that support wellness (respect, wisdom, responsibility, and relationships)

Fourth Circle = The people that surround an individual (nation, family, community, and land)

Fifth Circle = Social, cultural, economic, and environmental determinants of our health and well-being


Indigenous Knowledge: Health

Not all Indigenous people follow the medicine wheel, but it is helpful to show the concentric representation to illustrate the interconnection of the elements of self

The circle, more than any other symbol, expresses the Indigenous worldview

Human beings grow to their greatest fulfillment when they operate in a circular fashion

The circle is primary to all life and life process


Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge is preserved and passed down in both formal and informal settings through social encounters, oral traditions, ritual practices, and other activities.

Information, both culturally symbolic as well as relevant to everyday life is passed down in this fashion. Information about:

Oral narratives that recount human histories

Cosmological observations and modes of reckoning time

Symbolic and decorative modes of communication

Techniques for planting and harvesting

Hunting and gathering skills

Specialized understanding of local ecosystems

How to manufacture specialized tools and technologies (i.e. hide tanning, pottery-making, concocting medicinal remedies, etc.)

Source: Adapted from Indigenous Corporate Training https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/what-does-indigenous-knowledge-mean


Indigenous Knowledge

Skilled individuals and families are entrusted to maintain these traditions

Although much research has been performed and recorded, many aspects of Indigenous knowledge are still unknown to outsiders

Indigenous communities have devised distinctive methods of encoding useful data within philosophies of thought and modes of activity

Data encoded includes geographical, genealogical, and biological information


Indigenous Knowledge: Knowledge Keepers

The term “Elder” was originally used to describe individuals who practice, maintain, and teach the unique customs, beliefs, and practices pertaining to Indigenous knowledge; however, Knowledge Keeper is more appropriate

Elder is a term used by the settlers

“Traditional Knowledge Keepers are the foundation from which First Nations and Métis traditions, customs, laws, and spirituality are taught” (Wîcihitowin Conference Committee, 2017, p.8)


Indigenous Knowledge: Knowledge Keepers

There will never be a congruent set of protocols that are used for every Knowledge Keeper, but each Indigenous Knowledge Keeper has their own protocols that adhere to their unique knowledge and spiritual practices

Gifting has a long tradition in Indigenous cultures

The offering of tobacco to a Knowledge Keeper when an individual seeks their knowledge, wisdom, or prayers is consistent throughout Saskatchewan (Wîcihitowin Conference Committee, 2017).

The act of gifting is for Knowledge Keepers to feel welcome and appreciated, the actual monetary value is of limited importance


Indigenous Knowledge: Knowledge Keepers

Knowledge keepers have passed down Indigenous knowledge from generation to generation since time immemorial

Goal is to achieve balance and harmony within their community, and preserve their practices, knowledge, and culture.

Do not attempt to “convert” individuals; instead, only wish to have their practices and beliefs understood and respected by those unfamiliar with Indigenous traditions (Wîcihitowin Conference Committee, 2017).


Indigenous Knowledge

An understanding of Indigenous knowledge and how it differs from non-Indigenous knowledge is an important basis for determining how or who can use it

Knowing what it contains and how it is acquired and held is fundamental to being able to make good use of the knowledge and to encourage all parties to be aware of the added value its utilization will bring



Indigenous vs. Western knowledge (Modified and adapted from Baker, 2016, citing Nisbett, 2003). The Common Ground overlap can be thought of as ahtouris’ “third leg of the stool”.7

Different Knowing’s. (2013). Rick Hill: What is Indigenous Knowledge. Youtube.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ6gvd-HaP8.

Wîcihitowin Conference Committee (2017). Authentic engagement of First Nations and Métis Traditional Knowledge Keepers. Wîcihitowin Indigenous Engagement Conference. https://uakn. org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Wicihitowin_AuthenticEngagementBooklet_V8. pdf.