Center for World Indigenous Studies
A Think Tank of Activist Scholars
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Welcome to the

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

Nine ways to support the rights of indigenous people

June 11, 2019
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What are the practical steps to push for recognizing the rights of indigenous people around the world? Our shares their thoughts

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CWIS response to the Questionnaire concerning the Review of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Mandate answering the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document

June 11, 2019
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The Anáhuac Knowledge System: a Dialogue Between Toltecs and Descartes

June 11, 2019

Indigenous political leaders and indigenous peoples’ diplomatic representatives urge states’ government and international organization representatives to sit at the negotiating table to ensure that traditional knowledge becomes incorporated in local, regional, and international agree- ments aimed at mitigating and organizing adaption strategies to remedy the adverse effects of climate change. How can traditional knowledge be employed along with conventional sciences? When indigenous peoples’ advocates call for scholars, representatives of states’ governments,
and international institutions to recognize and respect “traditional knowledge,” what features
of traditional knowledge should they recognize and respect? How will they know the difference between conventional knowledge and traditional knowledge—are there differences and what are they? Can traditional knowledge inform modern climate change food security adaptation strate- gies, and if so what form does the application of traditional knowledge take? In this essay I offer an answer to these questions by explaining a Fourth World scientific method for deciphering the knowledge system of proto-historic West Mexico (600 CE to 1540 CE) and blending that method with conventional scientific methods. I discuss a method of multi-variant domain retrodiction and the transposition of elements of the ancient Anáhuac scientific system into a contempo-
rary structure blended with aspects of conventional scientific methods, thus providing details about the construction, internal coherence, and conceptual foundations of a knowledge system that extends throughout the western hemisphere. The conceptual framework presented can be incorporated into agreements between indigenous peoples’ representatives and their counterparts in states’ governments as they seek approaches to mutually understanding strategies for tackling vexing complex problems. Discussing a method for “blending” the Anáhuac knowledge system with the Cartesian knowledge system that arose in 17th century Europe may be possible if the two systems are used “in parallel” to facilitate collaboration between indigenous scientists and conventional scientists permitting them to formulate adaptation strategies that help all popula- tions. The method of decipherment and transposition may have wider application when the need exists to blend ancient knowledge systems from various parts of the world with conventional knowledge systems used to address complex challenges in many parts of the world.

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Principles for Restoring Health with Culture, Food, and Nature

June 11, 2019
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Indigenous America: Facing Other Inconvenient Truths

June 11, 2019

Steven Newcomb’s essay on the UN High-Level Plenary Session called the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples—that will convene in New York City on the 22nd of September, 2014—reflects the view shared by some of his readers that the World Conference is supposed to be a panacea to right all of the past wrongs done to indigenous peoples. He asks if the World Conference will reverse “the domination/subordination framework of U.S. federal Indian law and policy that has been and continues to be used against our originally free nations and peoples?” The answer is “not likely,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t compelling reasons for participating, or that there aren’t other ways to address the relationship between the US and Indian nations.

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Honor the 4th World: An Alternative to State Domination

June 11, 2019

Let us stipulate from the very outset that international states own, control and regulate an institution called the United Nations. It is their organization and they can do with it…

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Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Knowledge

June 11, 2019

Indigenous knowledge takes many forms reflecting the culture and geographic location as well as historic influences introduced from outside forces. Western scholars view indigenous knowledge through intellectual lenses with frequently superficial interpretations of the actual content and meaning. Indigenous peoples and Western schoeslars have begun to practice collaborative sharing and knowledge negotiations. Participants learn from each other sharing knowledge that can be applied to human sustainability challeng.

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Between Indigenous Nations and the State: Self- Determination in the Balance

June 11, 2019

of his Fourteen Point Peace Program to the U.S. Senate.2 Both Wilson and Britain’s Prime Minister Lloyd George proposed new principles for inter- national cooperation and collective security, thus accelerating the break- down of empires and the making of what would become more than 150 states over the next sixty years. Despite this auspicious beginning, the United States today offers to lead world opinion in fundamental opposition to the application of the principle of self-determination to indigenous peo- ples, and particularly to American Indians. Under the administration of President William J. Clinton, the U.S. government has joined with China, Japan, France, Iran, Iraq, England and the likes of Guatemala and Peru to prevent the application of international standards of human rights to in- digenous peoples. The external U.S. position contradicts its internal policy of self-determination by distorting international law to favor authoritarian states in their efforts to suppress the rights of indigenous peoples.

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A Salish Feast: Ancient Roots and Modern Applications

June 11, 2019

The knowledge traditions of Salish country are neither old fashioned nor out of date. Indeed, this body of knowledge collected in the people, stories, songs, and the land has the most modern application: prevention and treatment of chronic diseases that now afflict growing numbers of native peoples as well as non- natives living in Salish country. We use “Salish country” to identify a region of coastal northwest United States and southwest Canada and parts of their interior where peoples as similar and different as the Wuikinuxv, Wenatchee, Semiamoo, Skagit, Quinault, Clatsop, and Siletz live. What these peoples and their immediate neighbors share are rivers and other water pathways connecting them and languages rooted in what the linguists call Salish. These connections fostered cultural ties that have existed over the millenia and to the present day.

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The Political Status of Native Americans in the U.S. System

June 11, 2019

There are 177 independent, self-governing states in the world today. One hundred twenty of these states became independent in the last thirty years. States like Vanuatu and Nauru in the Pacific, Nevis-St. Kitts in the Caribbean and Belize in Central America are among those which became independent in only the last ten years.

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