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Module 1: Introduction

About the Video | Learning Objectives | Key Concepts | Before Watching | After Watching | Resources and Interesting Intersections

About the Video

The introductory video sets the stage for the AcademIK Connections video series. Khanjan Mehta discusses the rationale and objectives of the series with interspersed perspectives from Duarte Morais, Audrey Maretzki, Ted Alter, Ladi Semali, and Carolyn Sachs. The AcademIK Connections video series captures compelling stories about the importance of indigenous knowledge in developing and implementing entrepreneurial strategies to foster self-determined development. These stories come from individuals who, regardless of their discipline, research interest, or experiential background, consciously and respectfully employ indigenous knowledge in their teaching, research, and community engagement. We live in an interconnected world with shared problems, shared resources and shared solutions. We need to meld indigenous and western knowledge to inspire radical innovation and foster sustainable, self-determined development.

Video: AcademIK Connections Module 1: Series Introduction

Printer-friendly version of Module 1: Series Introduction [Word]

Learning Objectives

AcademIK Connections is a series of 12 videos that aim to:

  • Develop an understanding of the importance of indigenous knowledge
  • Integrate indigenous knowledge into academics to foster a better understanding of other cultures and epistemologies
  • Draw connections between indigenous knowledge and challenges facing the world today


Key Concepts

Indigenous Knowledge: culturally integrated ways of knowing, seeing, thinking and being that are typically passed down orally from generation to generation.

Value of Indigenous Knowledge: is in culture in which it develops as well as to innovators and problem solvers developing solutions to challenges facing humanity.

Western Knowledge: typically generated through the use of a method of inquiry that involves experimentation to establish the statistical predictability of a stated hypothesis. It is important to fuse western and indigenous knowledge, so that those who employ different ways of knowing can learn from and teach each other.

Epistemology: the theory of knowledge; it is concerned with the nature and the limitations of knowledge.

Self-Determined Development: consolidated efforts of indigenous peoples worldwide to chart their own futures and achieve sovereignty over traditional lands and resources.

Sustainability: the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being, which encompasses environmental, economic, and social aspects.


Before Watching

  1. Discuss what you and the class think indigenous knowledge means and your current understanding of its value.
    • Give an example of something you consider to be indigenous knowledge (e.g.: herbal remedies).
    • Discuss how indigenous knowledge is acquired. Remember that indigenous knowledge generally relies upon careful observation and long-term trial and error and experimentation. (This will be covered in the module Indigenous Ways of Knowing).
  2. Ask students to share a personal experience of a time they observed a behavior or phenomena they were unable to predict e.g. where a bird will build its nest. How would they explain the bird’s choice to a friend?


After Watching

  1. Discussion topics related to this video
    • What is the main objective of Penn State’s Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK)? How does that objective relate to indigenous knowledge?
    • What is knowledge and how do we acquire it? How do we use indigenous knowledge to address contemporary problems?
    • What do you think are the best ways to acquire local knowledge from other communities to help our own community? How can we learn from nature how to solve human challenges and improve our world?
  2. Related Indigenous Knowledge topics for further exploration
    • How does the Indigenous Ways of Knowing video relate to this video? What different information is provided?
    • Have you had an experience similar to Bruce Martin? Explain how this experience changed your perspective on the way you act? Think about your daily life and share some of the little things you do to save time or that make your life easier.


Resources and Interesting Intersections

  • Biomimicry
    This resource explains what biomimicry is and how it is related to the world.
  • Self-Determined Development
    This site has many different articles that deal with real-life examples of self-determined development and how it varies in different communities.