• March for Sciences commence tomorrow in many cities around Australia (Facebook / March for Science Sydney)Source: Facebook / March for Science Sydney
This weekend Indigenous scientists across the globe will not March for Science - but for Sciences.
Luke Briscoe

21 Apr 2017 - 2:17 PM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2017 - 2:20 PM

“As Indigenous scientists, agency professionals, tribal professionals, educators, traditional practitioners, family, youth, elders and allies from Indigenous communities and homelands lal over the living Earth, we endorse and support the March for Science," states the Indigenous Science Declaration.  

Scientists and their allies will march in precedent numbers all over the world on the weekend to voice their concerns about President Trump's announcement to cut funding and raise awareness of . Indigenous scientists say they will endorse the March if they include Sciences, to include Indigenous science. An Indigenous Science Declaration, drafted by Native Amercian scientists, Robin Kimmerer (Potawatomi), Ph.D., Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet/Métis), Ph.D., Melissa Nelson (Anishinaabe), Ph.D. and Kyle Whyte (Potawatomi), Ph.D, has stated the while Indigenous scientists and academics support the worldwide March for Science, they call for recognition of Indigenous Sciences in an event which mainly focuses on the work of Western science.

"As we endorse and support the March for Science, let us acknowledge that there are multiple ways of knowing that play an essential role in advancing knowledge for the health of all life,"

They also call for recognition of the ways that Western science has had a significant impact on Indigenous peoples,

"We acknowledge and honor our ancestors and draw attention to the ways in which Indigenous communities have been negatively impacted by the misguided use of Western scientific research and institutional power."

"We acknowledge and honor our ancestors and draw attention to the ways in which Indigenous communities have been negatively impacted by the misguided use of Western scientific research and institutional power. Our communities have been used as research subjects, experienced environmental racism, extractive industries that harm our homelands and have witnessed Indigenous science and the rights of Indigenous peoples dismissed by institutions of Western science."

It's true. Indigenous representation in science has a dark history in Australia too, also subjects of Western scientific research, and the ongoing exploitation of Indigenous knowledges. Only recently are scientists beginning to understand the vast importance and value that #IndigenousSciences hold. Indigenous science explores connection to the natural world through their and the economic opportunities that link their traditional culture knowledge (that have been in place for thousands of years) have sadly been exploited with communities getting little or no rightful attributions.

Just over a year ago I started a company INDIGI LAB which aimed to look at ways to reverse the many issues that faced Indigenous recognition and representation in STEM, by developing projects and programs that would enable Indigenous Australians to be at the forefront of science and innovation. Since its inception in *** we have managed to roll out projects, programs and events that would put Indigenous recognition in science in Australia's larger STEM landscape.

Last year I was proud to have held an Indigenous Science Symposium, and from our discussion at the event, we found that the biggest hurdle with recognition of Indigenous science is still racism, with Western science undervaluing the role of Indigenous sciences - in particular the hard sciences like maths and physics; social sciences, not as much. And speaking to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scientists here and overseas, it appears that this systematic racism is the biggest hurdle in order achieve recognition of Indigenous science.

It’s this struggle for Indigenous recognition that is felt globally by Indigenous scientist and communities that the Declaration has been drafted at such an appropriate time. Indigenous people want the March for Science to be seen through both, a cultural and industry lens.

"Western Science is a powerful approach, but it is not the only one."

"Western Science is a powerful approach, but it is not the only one."

Western scientists have a privilege to place value in their research, while Indigenous sciences can be hard to do so, as the science is both, collective and also so old that the only way to pass on our sciences was encoded in our ceremonies, rituals which we have maintained (even through a brutal colonial invasion). Western value systems are very pluralistic in nature and Indigenous science is more about valuing nature. I think with projects like caring for country, scientists and governments all across the globe are starting to value Indigenous sciences much more and action on climate change seems to be a bridge that is enabling a cross-culture paradigm in merging both sciences. An it's this commonality of sustainability that we are seeing an interesting shift in value systems. 

I believe the Indigenous Science Declaration is a mechanism that will enable the recognition of Indigenous Science in Australia. This weekend, I will present the Indigenous Science Declaration to the Sydney March for Science committee to ensure that Indigenous voices are heard in this in this global event. I urge other Indigenous and allies participating at other March for Science events scheduled around Australia utilise the the Declaration as well.

Like the content? Follow the author @luke_briscoe79 

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