Indigenous knowledge as a driver of resilience

Indigenous knowledge as a driver of resilience

Day 1
14:15 – 15:45
Gardjola 1


The experience of colonisation has erased the notion of indigenous knowledge as an epistemological expression which obeys a different logic to Cartesian thinking. As a result, worldviews of indigenous peoples have been deeply challenged and marginalised. However, the impact of western civilisation on the planet has led to a new consideration of fundamental principles linked to indigenous peoples’ knowledge. For example, it is been recognised that historically, indigenous people have mobilised an in depth knowledge of their territories which have been the source of their livelihood for generations. Indigenous knowledge also includes multiple good practices on adaptation and mitigation.

This session will present and explore these good practices and how they can inform policies to promote resilience. Cases presented will also assess how this knowledge could challenge its current marginalisation to be able to shape policy, decision making and governance structures

The cases presented will provide new insights on resilience and provide an opportunity to explore the implications for governance systems, processes and structures.

The Cases

Case 1: Dr. Pamela Palmater is the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and a Mi’kmaq lawyer whose family originates from the Eel River Bar First Nation in Northern New Brunswick. She will present a case related to one of her primary research interests related to Aboriginal land and natural resource management and governance that highlights how indigenous knowledge can promote resilience.

Case 2: Les Malezer, the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, will present a case revolving around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia. One possible avenue to explore would be the formation of a coalition of up to 200 human rights organisations that have submitted a report on human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia to the Human Rights Commission. How has that process led to resilience-building? And/or how is it a response to vulnerability?



(CHAIR) Clayton Thomas Muller

Clayton Thomas-Muller is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan located in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Clayton is a campaigner with as well as a founder and organizer with Defenders of the Land. Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement globally for energy and climate justice. He serves on the boards of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the Bioneers and is a steering committee member of the Tar Sands Solutions Network and development committee member of Idle No More.

Clayton has been recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine. For the last twelve years he has campaigned across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states organizing in hundreds of First Nations, Alaska Native and Native American communities in support of grassroots Indigenous Peoples to defend against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry. This has included a special focus on the sprawling infrastructure of pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the Canadian tar sands. Clayton is an organizer, facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental and economic justice.

Les Malezer

Les Malezer is from the Butchulla/Gubbi Gubbi peoples in southeast Queensland and Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He has decades of extensive experience in campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and has represented community interests at local, state, national and international levels.

In 2008 he won the Australian Human Rights Award, and his contribution to coordinating Indigenous Peoples’ advocacy for the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly is well known and respected.

Pamela Palmater

Dr Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer, author, social justice activist, and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She has university degrees, including a BA from St. Thomas in Native Studies; an LLB from UNB, and her Masters and Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University specialising in Indigenous law.

Pam has been volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of issues like poverty, housing, education, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and legislation impacting First Nations. She came in second in the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief in 2012 and was one of the spokespeople and public educators for the Idle No More movement in 2012-13.

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