Mary Marete (Agricultural and Extension Educatlon) grew up in Kenya and worked as an extension agent. She tells the story of a farmer who used his knowledge of the characteristics of a local plant to punish a neighbor for failing to observe the farmer's property rights.
David Ader (Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology) recounts his discussion about poverty with an elderly Mapuche man in Chile.
Mary Chandy Vayaliparampil (College of Education) talks about the traditional Indian education system (Guru-Shishya parampara), a holistic educational system that prepared students for life, as opposed to a specific job or career.
Lindsay Usher (Recreation, Park and Tourism Management) describes the sharing of knowledge between indigenous people and tourism professionals as a two-way street.
Poverty: is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean, safe water, adequate food, clothing, shelter, and access to health care and education because of the inability to afford them. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty. Poverty is additionally seen as a state of mind and a lifestyle. More than just a lack of materials, it is a state of deprivation and insecurity. Even those who can get above poverty are always close to falling back into its clutches.
Mapuche: are indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who share a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage.
Guru-Shishya (Parampara): denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture and Dharmic Traditions. It is the tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring in traditional Hinduism where teachings are transmitted from a teacher to a disciple. Such knowledge is imparted by developing a relationship between the guru and the disciple. It is considered that this relationship, based on the genuineness of the guru, and the respect, commitment, devotion and obedience of the student, is the best way for subtle or advanced knowledge to be conveyed. The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies.
Self-Sufficiency: refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy.
- What is indigenous knowledge? Provide specific examples of indigenous knowledge that you have experienced.
- How would you define the word poverty? Is it possible that different people might have different definitions of the word? Why?
- How important do you believe education to be? How many different subjects do you study? Are they all related? Think about what you consider to be the most important information to acquire.
- Think about how many different things you know compared to the people around you. How might exchanging information with other people be beneficial?
Discussion Topics related to this video
- How did the man use his indigenous knowledge to resolve the dispute between himself and his neighbor? Why is this a good example of the application of indigenous knowledge? What other examples of indigenous knowledge can you think of?
- What were the two different definitions of poverty given by the Mapuche man in the video? Which definition do you believe is the best and why?
- What was the main difference between the British education system and the Indian education system of Guru-Shishya Parampara? Which form of education do you think is most useful? Under what circumstances might one or the other system be preferable? How would you compare the American educational system with the British system and the Guru-Shishya Parampara? In which of the three systems (British, Indian, America) would you want your child to be taught? What are the relative merits and demerits of each approach?
- Why is it important to learn from each other when working in different countries? Describe the type(s) of information/knowledge that can be readily shared between culturally different parties in the context of global travel. Identify knowledge that is very difficult to share in this situation.
Related Indigenous Knowledge topics for further exploration
- Think about the information you learn in school every day. Do you apply that knowledge outside the classroom? How could you build knowledge connections between your classroom and your community? Describe a way in which you consider yourself to be self-sufficient. Why is this trait important in life? What forms of information would be useful in helping someone become more self-sufficient? What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-sufficiency?
Find data on world poverty by country as provided by the World Bank.
Information on the Guru-Shishya Parampara teaching method as described in the Hindu Encyclopedia.
- Poverty [Wikipedia]
- Mapuche [Wikipedia]
- Guru-Shishya Tradition [Wikipedia]
- Self-Sufficiency [Wikipedia]