Science vs. Traditional Knowledge in Climate Change: Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Indian Country Today Media Network, 15 July 2013

COLORADO, USA: The hydrologist had carefully studied the scientific data and knew for a fact that water would be present if he drilled. So sure was he that he ignored a Hawaiian elder’s warning against drilling for water in that spot. The scientist did indeed hit water—but it was red, brackish and undrinkable. He had drilled on a hill that had been named, millennia ago, Red Water. Nearby was another site that had carried the name Water for Man for thousands of years. That is where the drinkable water could be found, but it did not take a hydrologist with fancy instruments. “We assume contemporary knowledge displaces that of the past, but it’s not true,” said Ramsay Taum, Native Hawaiian, board director of the Pasifika Foundation and on the faculty of the University of Hawaii, after giving this example of science’s potential to erroneously override indigenous knowledge. Taum’s comments were among several themes aired in the workshop “Rising Voices of Indigenous Peoples in Weather and Climate Science,” held on 1-2 July 2013, in Boulder, Colorado. The reliance on science to the exclusion of millennia of careful observation is another way in which culture is being eroded, participants said. Read the article …