UBC Theses and Dissertations
Healing the land by reclaiming an Indigenous ecology : a journey exploring the application of the Indigenous worldview to invasion biology and ecology Grenz, Jennifer Berneda
Using western science as the only worldview when examining complex topics of applied science limits inquiry and understanding. The Indigenous worldview offers an opportunity to renew the way research is done. It opens up new ways for scientists to acquire, comprehend and share knowledge, and helps generate new approaches to solving modern challenges that western science may be ill-equipped to handle on its own. Common approaches to ecological restoration are rooted in colonial concepts of “nature” including native versus non-native dichotomies and constructs of pre-human “naturalness” that disregard the purposeful stewarding and shaping of the lands and waters by Indigenous peoples to meet the needs of human and animal relations. While Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge is increasingly sought in recent years, lack of understanding of its origins, the relational worldview, leaves its full potential unrealized. This thesis follows my journey as an Indigenous invasive species specialist as I set out to answer the following question, "What does the application an Indigenous worldview to ecological restoration tell us about the impacts of invasive species on Indigenous food security and food sovereignty in the context of our changing climate?" Working with Cowichan Tribes’ staff, Elders, and other traditional knowledge holders as co-authors, I gathered oral histories, stories, and perspectives on the related topics of ecology, climate change, history, and food security. These histories and stories, along with relational methods of land observation, revealed an Indigenous ecology that departs from dualistic concepts of species belongingness and Eden-based ecological restoration goals. In response to the stories collected, my co-authors and I formulated new terminology for land healing, and created a new framework to guide land management decision-making reflective of an Indigenous worldview and cultural values; this framework allows us to redefine and reclaim practice that protect food security and sovereignty for generations to come. My journey, and this thesis, demonstrate the power of the Indigenous worldview to illuminate new paths of scientific inquiry and expand our understanding of complex issues.
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