Thursday, October 23, 2014

Indigenous Peoples as Citizen Scientists

I'm off to the inaugural Citizen Science Conference in San Jose, February 11-12 next year. I'll be delivering a 'speed talk' which entails 5 minutes to deliver the message, a great idea for conferences where it can be hard talk sitting through hour after hour of deliveries...

My 300 seconds will be on the role of Indigenous Peoples in this CitSci space. We hold important knowledge of their environments. This ancient knowledge is increasingly sought as data for a variety of scientific disciplines and practices including environmental management, ecology, ethnobotany, fisheries, forestry, and disaster risk reduction. Many Indigenous communities are not opposed to working with scientists and various international conventions have articulated a role for Indigenous knowledge, particularly traditional ecological knowledge. However, the history of much ‘collaboration’ has created significant barriers to progressing truly inclusive Citizen Science in many countries. I'll give a few brief examples from Aotearoa New Zealand will to show that empowering Indigenous individuals and collectives as 'Citizen Scientists' will require an acceptance of possibly radically different worldviews as well as the acknowledgement of broader issues of justice and ethics.


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Simon Lambert

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