Abstract

The pressure on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to solve socio-economic issues globally begs the question: What is the state of TEK today, given the economic, social, and cultural ruptures it has endured during the past 200 years? The author traces how historical collaborative work between ethnographic pairings of “insiders” and “outsiders” created partnerships between some prominent anthropologists and local Indigenous research collaborators. Indeed, most of the ground-breaking anthropological work of Franz Boas and others concerning Canada’s Pacific Northwest coast culture area depended on collaborations with George Hunt and other trained Indigenous field workers. Much of their long-standing fieldwork data collection and writings involved their female relatives and anonymous women’s collaboration, lending an accumulated, but unacknowledged, thoroughness to present-day TEK. Future policy concerning collaboration between non-Indigenous academics and Indigenous communities should take into account the lessons to be learned from these historical practices.

Acknowledgments

Dianne Newell wishes to acknowledge the support of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch, South Africa, where as a STIAS Fellow she completed and presented an earlier draft of this article.

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