AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE:
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS

 

This page is a work in progress

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Before airing any whole class first impressions or any reflection about what “indigenous” means or why “Indigenous Knowledge Systems” has been elevated to an official TOK Area of Knowledge; jump into the thick of the action by showing these two videos from Survival International.

Students should be arranged randomly in groups of three. Allow them to decide who will take on the role of facilitator, scribe and or presenter. Allow students a timed 10 minutes to provide wriitten answers the folllowing questions.

1. Define the term: "indigenous people."

2. Provide 7 examples of indigenous people from around the world without looking online.

3. Do you think that "indigenous Knowledge Systems" is as an important TOK Area of Knowledge as, say, Mathematics and History.

Next ask the scribes from all groups (simultaneously) to step forward and write down their indigenous people examples from Question #2. Erase any duplicates; then call on volunteers who think that certain osuggested examples do not merit inclusion on the list. "Are they indigenous enough for our list?" This should unsettle the students and provoke spirited discussion.

Next call on the scribe of first group to write the team's original Question #1 definition on the white board in easily erasable marker. The presenter should read it stridently. Ask the facilitator if the team would like to adjust the definition based on the examples discussion. Then, call on each group in turn to modify and edit the class definition. Tell the class that definition is a work in progress.

Unleash some whole class discussion on Question 3. Remind the class about the importance of respect and the danger of oversimplification with stereotypes. The respect factor will become important in the Nacirema unit which follows. Contentious issues like globalization, romanticizing traditional lifestyles, cultural relativism and assuming that even relatively isolated cultures are static will almost certainly emerge. Before attempting to pull this all together, show the next two videos. Students will relate strongly to the subject material and the discuss.