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September 22, 2022

The Northeast CASC is supporting Indigenous communities in the Northeast who are taking the lead in combining, or “braiding,” Indigenous knowledge with western science to inform climate change adaptation planning.

Indigenous peoples have managed and adapted to environmental change for millennia, serving as great stewards of the land and waters they oversee. In recognizing the value of Indigenous knowledge and practices, and combining them with western science, a more holistic approach to evaluating and responding to climate change adaptation can be explored. 

Indigenous scholars in the Northeast, led by Sonya Atalay, UMass Amherst Provost Professor of Anthropology, and university partners, including Northeast CASC University Co-Director Jonathan Woodruff, are collaborating to create a new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) whose purpose is to weave Indigenous ways of knowing throughout practices and methods of current Western research.  

With the Northeast CASC, Woodruff had previously organized an online seminar series, “Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Adaptation Science,” that supported efforts by the Northeast CASC to engage and partner with environmental coordinators, scholars and elders from Tribal Nations to co-produce adaptation science.  

CBIKS hopes to foster “braided” science that provides more of an Indigenous holistic approach to teaching and learning.  

“I’m really excited about how the proposed center can help folks like me to adapt to this new way of thinking, and can train up-and-coming scientists to approach research differently,” Woodruff said.

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