I am an Indigenous scholar with the mission to create respectful approaches in any field or discipline that is conducted by, grounded in, or engaged with Indigenous Communities, their wisdom, cultures, experiences or knowledge systems.
The collective wisdom of Indigenous Peoples is much needed since they hold the past, present and future of our planet on their hands. However, we are in disadvantage with regards of scientific and decision-making processes. Two years ago I decided to take a turn on my academic career and work full time with the endeavor to ensure that such approaches are carefully designed to be conducted with sensitivity, addressing the ethical, fair and equitable treatment of such knowledge while creating local capacities and strategic responses to complex socio-ecological problems affecting them.
My educational background is in Human Ecology and Human Geography at PhD level (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany). I have worked for international academic and non-academic organizations, and consistently achieved high-level results and policy engagement by collaborating with international institutions at different levels in social issues and science fields including the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden, and the Department of Natural Resources Management, University of Manitoba, Canada, to mention a few. My main areas of work are Indigenous and Traditional Peoples, community-based natural resource management, culture and conservation, governance of natural resources and protected areas and, overall, complex problems related to the interface of Indigenous Peoples with nature.
My motivation to create Indigenous Science emerged from a simple fact: as an Indigenous scholar, I realized that the belief and knowledge system I inherited from my ancestors was different from the Western science that I was being educated in. However, non-Indigenous scientists who are not familiar with our traditional beliefs will barely recognize this rationale since our knowledge "does not make sense to science", thus it has been often set aside from academic discourses and institutions. The aim of Indigenous Science is to provide free advice and support to Indigenous Communities involved in research and projects by ensuring that their different worldviews are represented in planning and decision making in an attempt to meet their needs.
Being myself Indigenous, I possess deep ties to indigenous communities and also strong ability to understand, respect and respond to sensitive cultural nuances associated with working alongside Indigenous Peoples and experience working on projects that accord respect to Indigenous Peoples' knowledge systems. Thus, Indigenous Science will focus particularly on aspects that a non-Indigenous researcher needs to be aware of when researching with Indigenous Peoples; how non-Indigenous researchers can improve their practices with Indigenous Peoples; and, most importantly, whether it is appropriate for non- Indigenous researchers to be involved in research with Indigenous Peoples.