Bringing Indigenous and Earth Sciences, Knowledges, and Practices Together to Understand and Respond to COVID-19

  • Lesley Iaukea
  • Heather Lazrus
  • Julie Maldonado Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network
  • Paulette Blanchard
  • Theresa Dardar
  • John Doyle
  • Fred Eningowuk
  • Dennis Longknife
  • Melonee Montano
  • Michelle Montgomery
  • Jasmine Neosh
  • Margarita Nogueras-Vidal
  • James Rattling Leaf, Sr.
  • M. Kalani Souza
Keywords: Indigenous Knowledges, Earth Sciences, COVID-19, Disaster management, Climate change, Decolonization

Abstract

COVID-19 is having specific and devastating impacts, yet it is spurring resilient responses among Indigenous populations due to unique histories, cultures, geographies, and capacities. The Working Group on Indigenous and Earth Sciences Knowledges and Practices in Response to COVID-19 came together to foreground Indigenous perspectives in defining research questions for potential intercultural collaboration between Indigenous and Earth sciences to drive urgent, culturally relevant, and appropriate responses to COVID-19. The Working Group included intercultural, intergenerational, and interdisciplinary representatives from the Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences, a nation-wide network of scientists, educators, students, and community leaders and organizers. To identify priority research areas and emerging questions, the Working Group hosted a webinar discussion and fielded a questionnaire with the Rising Voices community as well as utilized their own perspectives and expertise. The results highlighted four dynamics that many Indigenous Peoples are presently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, including food security and safety; pre-existing conditions; turning to resilience and wisdom; and emerging questions at the nexus of Indigenous wisdom and knowledge and Earth sciences. Valuing Indigenous observations, knowledges, wisdom, and practices equally with Earth Sciences, this work contributes to decolonizing Earth Sciences, disaster management, and public health. It works to mitigate the particular threats and impacts that Indigenous communities and populations face from COVID-19 and the increasing spread of infectious diseases. Doing so addresses injustices in Earth Sciences and disaster management and the disproportionately adverse impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities.

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Published
2020-11-09