Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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Introduction Describe what is Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and scientific knowledge According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Native American Program The term Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or TEK, is used to describe the knowledge held by native cultures about their direct environment and the ethnic practices that build on that knowledge. Traditional ecological knowledge includes an intimate and detailed knowledge of plants, animals, and natural phenomena, the development and use of appropriate technologies for fishing, hunting, trapping, agriculture, and forestry, and a holistic knowledge, or "world view" which parallels the scientific discipline of ecology (Berkes 1993). Image depicting an Eskimo Fishing using…show more content…
TEK relies on a much smaller number of observations in order to make decisions in what is perceived as a dynamic and unpredictable situation. Whereas scientific knowledge is constantly seeking the objective “truth” utilizing a comprehensive and structured framework, extensive data collection and optimization analysis, and then formulating the most efficient response. This is often accomplished with an attitude of domination and without due respect for the realities of symbiotic relationships within the ecosystem. The branch of modern environmental science that caters to the exploitation of natural resources for financial gain has little in common with TEK, and is solely concerned with the efficiencies of its extraction and processing. Yet, as these forces become more entrenched within our public policy, and the complexity and magnitude of our ecological problems increase, the integration of TEK offers us the promise of more stability and balance in the way we utilize the abundance of…show more content…
Some of the more recent conflicts between TEK and Western science can be found in political control over resources and power struggles in the decision-making process. It is certain that TEK and Western science have cohesions that can be cultivated in order to bring forth a new integrated approach to environmental management and restoration (as a discipline, we now have ethno ecology). First and foremost, the most important similarity is the interdisciplinary concept that all things, organic and inorganic, are interrelated and that these direct and indirect causal relationships unify and give stability to the world in which we live (deep ecology and the Gaia hypothesis). At the practical level, it is the knowledge of plants, animals and ecological cycles that bring these two disciplines into close contact which includes skills and techniques that rely on empirical observations, pattern recognition and repetitive behavior as well as inference and forecasting. In other words, the means of knowledge acquisition and process of knowledge transmission may be important similarities that begin the formal integration of TEK and Western

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