Hawai'i conservation alliance

Integrating Knowledge Systems And Methodologies

Pelika Bertelmann, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hilo, HI
Kehau Tom, Friends of Papahānaumokuākea, Hilo, HI

Wednesday, August 3, 3:20-5:20 PM, Room 313BC

Integrating indigenous and western scientific knowledge systems is becoming more prevalent as we move into an era supporting diversity. Utilizing both knowledge systems creates a firm foundation in truly understanding various ecological systems, which will contribute to the better protection of our natural environment. Our project has taken this approach a step further by not only exploring information within knowledge systems, but by breaking down how the information was collected and for what purposes specific elements were identified and recorded. Our kupuna came to certain conclusions from their observations in ways that were relevant to their time and place. The same information may not be relevant to this time and place. However, by understanding the methodology behind gathering information within knowledge systems, we can continue to apply these processes to address the questions of today in the location of our research. This way, we will understand the environment of Hawaii as a contemporary extension of our kupuna’s thoughts and thus our understanding will include how we interact with it. Our project is pushing the idea of integration by not simply including traditional knowledge or language, but exploring and implementing the foundation of how that knowledge came to be.

Over the past 2 years, project participants have focused on the protocols and strategies used to collect data, both traditionally and scientifically. We are exploring different ways in which we collect data and refining the protocols and methodologies to support a true integration of knowledge systems in regards to the overall health of our environment; naturally, culturally, and spiritually. Participants also want to provide a protocol fulfilling our needs and relationships as community members, cultural practitioners, and environmental managers, not only scientists.

The forum will discuss the history and evolution of the project, challenges and successes, and the future role this approach can play in understanding our environment to better support a healthy interaction with it.

Opening and Introduction of speakers (10 min)
Summary of whole Project (10 min)
Discipline/Area overview (40 min)
Results/Finds (10 min)
Q & A (40 min)

Misaki Takabayashi, Facilitator
Pelika Bertelmann: Summary of project (history of project, finding balance between science and traditional practice, holistic approach, overall intent,  answering the big question – why?)
Kim Morishige: Collecting data on the shoreline
Nakoa Goo: Collecting data in the ocean
Kehau Tom: Results and Finds (refining protocols, boosting confidence in participants, making connections, conclusions)

Symposia, Forums & Workshops List »