Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research
Chapter 4. In Search of Common Ground: To Blend or Not to Blend?
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IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND: TO BLEND OR NOT TO BLEND?
An increasing number of scholars, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are asking questions such as, “Is it possible to blend Western, Indigenous North American, and other ecological philosophies and knowledge? Or is it better to keep them separate, but search for commonalities?” Some, such as Cajete (2001) and Snow (1977/2005), suggest that the collective survival of our society will require the combined wisdom of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.
Renowned Tewa scholar Cajete (2001) relates the story of a female relative who has a “split head”; she is of mixed Euro-American and Tewa ancestry and often feels split between the two cultures. Cajete suggests that many contemporary Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people also have a split head—torn between various cultural and sub-cultural influences and values. He proposes that the ultimate task at hand is to find ways to heal the split head of our collective society, blending the best of Western (and other cultures) and Indigenous cultures to create a unified whole.
Turner (2005), a well-known Euro-Canadian ethnobotanist who has built strong relationships with Indigenous communities on the West Coast, also states: ← 55 | 56 →
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