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IDRC Rep. 1993 Apr;21(1):14-6.

Threads of common knowledge.

Abstract

PIP:

Indigenous knowledge is examined as it is affected by development and scientific exploration. The indigenous culture of shamanism, which originated in northern and southeast Asia, is a "political and religious technique for managing societies through rituals, myths, and world views." There is respect for the natural environment and community life as a social common good. This world view is still practiced by many in Latin America and in Colombia specifically. Colombian shamanism has an environmental accounting system, but the Brazilian government has established its own system of land tenure and political representation which does not adequately represent shamanism. In 1992 a conference was held in the Philippines by the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction and IDRC on sustainable development and indigenous knowledge. The link between the two is necessary. Unfortunately, there are already examples in the Philippines of loss of traditional crop diversity after the introduction of modern farming techniques and new crop varieties. An attempt was made to collect species, but without proper identification. Opposition was expressed to the preservation of wilderness preserves; the desire was to allow indigenous people to maintain their homeland and use their time-tested sustainable resource management strategies. Property rights were also discussed during the conference. Of particular concern was the protection of knowledge rights about biological diversity or pharmaceutical properties of indigenous plant species. The original owners and keepers of the knowledge must retain access and control. The research gaps were identified and found to be expansive. Reference was made to a study of Mexican Indian children who knew 138 plant species while non-Indian children knew only 37. Sometimes there is conflict of interest where foresters prefer timber forests and farmers desire fuelwood supplies and fodder and grazing land, which is provided by shrubland. Information and research priorities will be examined and an action plan developed in future months.

PMID:
12286443
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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