Sunday, July 17, 2005

Indigenous Knowledges Conference: Reconciling Academic Priorities with Indigenous Realities

Below is a draft of the paper I presented at the recent Indigenous Knowledges Conference at the Pipitea Campus of Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Always interesting to see the latest work from maori researchers, and catch up with an increasingly assured academic network. I was struck, however, by the preponderence of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) discourse - all eels and kai moana, maramatanga, rongoa and so on, which to an historical materialist wouold seem to be ignoring the actually biotic resources we utilise to survice as individuals and communities. As I've discussed in an earlier paper, Maori development is disproportionately reliant on introduced biota - Pinus radiata, trifolium spp., cows, sheep etc. We need to establish a discourse of Modern Ecological Knowledge, MEK! (giving us the T-shirt slogan: Tu meke te MEK...).

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Simon Lambert

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