Posted to the Ethnos Project by on February 27th, 2014

From the PBS website

How can the modern study of global change benefit from ancient knowledge? Special correspondent John Larson reports on the new ways indigenous communities around the world are connecting with one another to share observations and sustain their native cultures.

Excerpt from the transcript

JOHN LARSON: When I met Waterhouse and his wife photographer Mary Marshall in Alaska this winter, they had received a second grant from the National Science Foundation for what they call, “The Network of Indigenous Knowledge.” The Network will connect river people in Alaska and Canada with tribes in Siberia, Peru, and soon South Sudan, and Botswana – allowing them to share scientific information and cultural histories.

MARY MARSHALL: “There are so many voices, so many unheard voices in this world. There are indigenous people who live very far away from any city or place that we are familiar with. For them, to be found and recognized, and to be handed a microphone is just huge.”

CHRIS RAINIER: “And then, when its time to record you push the red button like this.”

JOHN LARSON: Chris Rainier, a National Geographic Explorer, has made a living documenting the lives of the world’s most remote people. As part of the Network, he’s now helping teach the Machiguenga how to gather and upload their stories.

CHRIS RAINIER: “So we’ve brought in computers, cameras video cameras to give them an opportunity to share the stories of the forest, of the river, fishing… to kind of create a connection, to Alaska, to many of the indigenous cultures around the world.”

JOHN LARSON: Machiguenga stories include this a Valley of Death, where they believe the Devil came to earth.

JOHN LARSON: And, this: the Pongo de Mainique – a six square mile preserve with more species of life than any other similar sized place on Earth. The Machiguenga believe this is birthplace of all life, and the gateway to the next world.

JOHN LARSON: And this is where an important, additional element of Network of Indigenous Knowledge comes in. Scientists are becoming increasing receptive to what’s recognized as “Traditional Knowledge” – the extensive collection of environmental observations, and wisdom passed down among indigenous people. People who have lived in one environment, in many cases, for thousands of years.

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