Monday, April 2, 2018

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

What is TEK and how can it be used with Western Science?

This was a question posed to me within my first week of interning at SDI. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is the evolving knowledge of indigenous people that has been acquired for thousands of years. It is based on their direct contact with the environment. After reading many articles and resources about TEK, it is obvious that it can complement today’s Western Science.

The Sustainability Leadership Cohort is there to help students understand the two complementary methods and put them into action to better understand the environment around them. My goal is to mentor the students in gaining that better understanding, while also learning myself. Education is key to understanding the world around us and by using TEK, important cultural values and knowledge will not be lost to modern day techniques. I was amazed at the amount of resources available for teaching TEK in a modern day environment. Over the past few weeks, I have been introduced to the POSOH project and the curriculum that they put out. Why are more local schools not using these?

As an aspiring educator, I hope to be able to incorporate curriculum like this into my classroom. As I progress through my internship, I realize the importance for education geared towards the students who are in my classroom. In the case of this area, where we have multiple tribes and cultures, we need to incorporate more Traditional Ecological Knowledge. More students will have the opportunity to enjoy learning about science and can make more connections to their environment. After all, we are all tied to Mother Earth.

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