Posted to the Ethnos Project by on August 9th, 2017

This study explores how indigenous knowledge (IK) might be retained and/or changed among contemporary indigenous peoples. Through semi-structured interviews and quantitative analyses of long-term changes in artistic knowledge among three geographically displaced Kaiabi (Kawaiwete) we found an association between language proficiency and gender with greater IK retention, and formal schooling with IK erosion. Six mechanisms of innovation in knowledge of basketry and textiles among men and women were documented. A mixed mode of collaborative learning and knowledge transmission involving diverse actors emerged from community workshops and group forums. Innovative mechanisms for cultural transmission have taken advantage of media, technology, and non-indigenous support organizations to expand weaving knowledge of basketry designs. Our results illustrate how indigenous peoples actively shape cultural transmission and change, as well as the role that public policies and academic research may play in these processes.