Independent Consultant, Pennsylvania, United States
Session Description: Recently, the U.S. White House committed to “elevating Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) in federal scientific and policy process.” The problem is, most scientists and policy specialists do not know what ITEK is or how it can inform decision making and have never encountered the concept in their formal education. The goal of our workshop is to help ecologists, specifically educators, imagine how ITEK can be incorporated into ecology courses in a way that is culturally respectful and reciprocal and show how this can benefit our scientific understanding of ecological systems and processes. We envision an interactive session wherein participants will exchange ideas with a panel of Indigenous scholars with expertise in TEK. Panelists will include our symposium speakers and some of our webinar contributors. We will ask each panelist to identify what they consider to be the high priority elements that all ecologists should be aware of, including the meaning and practice of Indigenous sovereignty, reciprocity and respect, relationship building, and examples or case studies of Indigenous knowledges. Workshop participants will be asked to reflect on how these ideas can be incorporated into existing ecology curricula and what they see as the challenges in connecting ways of knowing. We will ask them what they would have wanted in their own education to increase their ability to train ecologists. We believe this reciprocal exchange will provide a good starting point for attendees to consider how we can expand and revise ecology education to create a more inclusive ecology.