Indigenous Science Takes Center Stage Monday at 2022 Joint Annual Meeting
Entomologists were challenged to expand their thinking about what science is and ought to be in the Plenary Session at the 2022 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia on Monday.
Tara McAllister, Ph.D., and Michael Blackstock delivered presentations on Indigenous science and urged conference attendees to build connections with Indigenous researchers and bridge gaps between Western scientific practices and Indigenous knowledge systems.
McAllister, a Māori scientist studying freshwater ecology as well as underrepresentation of Indigenous scholars in academia at the Centre for Science and Society at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, suggested several actions, including acknowledging colonial roots in science and enhancing funding opportunities for Indigenous researchers. But she noted that Western scientists must appreciate that, simply put, “Indigenous science is science.”
“Western science is still catching up to many of the things that Indigenous knowledge has known for generations,” she said. “Indigenous knowledge offers solutions to solving many of our problems, and it’s about time we as scientists recognize its value.”
Blackstock, is an artist and independent Indigenous scholar and a member of the Gitxsan Nation, native to northwestern British Columbia. The Gitxan are known as “people of the river mist,” Blackstock said, and he has devoted his research efforts to integrating the knowledge of Gitxan and other Indigenous peoples with Western research on water to form the foundation of what he terms Blue Ecology.
Blue Ecology takes an expansive view of water’s role in nature and society, defining it as “the essential lifeblood of our planet, with the power to generate, sustain, receive, and ultimately unify life,” Blackstock explained.
And that view suggests that climate change is more about water—drought, flood, melting ice, rising oceans—than dominant views might hold. “The Western view of climate change is through a carbon lens. That’s not wrong, but it’s a very narrow focus. Indigenous researchers are working to bring this wider vision,” he said.
McAllister and Blackstock’s perspectives added important views to a conference lineup that has emphasized the synthesis of multiple disciplines and models of thinking. Be sure to watch the full recording of the Monday Plenary in the Joint Annual Meeting On-Demand program beginning November 28. Below are a few additional photos from the plenary and observations from attendees.
A powerful opening poem before the second #entsoc22 plenary session by Brandon Kilbourne “Natural history, the curious institution”#IndigenousPeoples #FirstNations #poetry #science #entomology pic.twitter.com/WPQnSClQcr
— Royal Ent Soc (@RoyEntSoc) November 14, 2022
Powerful session at #EntSoc22 “Indigenous research should be led by Indigenous people. There is a big difference between creating space and taking up space.” ‼️‼️‼️ – Dr. Tara McAllister #JAM2022 pic.twitter.com/ei4hPBNxv8
— Cheyenne Thomas (@cheyenneithomas) November 14, 2022
Plenary time again #EntSoc22. Opening with a reading by poet and evolutionary biologist #BrandonKilbourne. Then @taramcallister4 on enhancing inclusion of indigenous scientists and @bluecology discussing climate change from an indigenous water perspective. pic.twitter.com/HD9i4wG99D
— Hefin Jones 🏴 🇺🇦 (@THJ1961) November 14, 2022
— Michelle Hotchkiss (@michellehotch) November 14, 2022
On-Demand Program, opening November 28
2022 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 13-16, Vancouver