Compiled by Preston Hardison,
The world has suffered and continues to suffer from a profound loss of indigenous peoples and rural groups and their knowledge about the natural world constructed from their intimate ties to land and place. This loss has been accompanied by neglect and the marginalization of their practices and beliefs, often figured as inferior forms of knowing to be replaced by universalized knowledge derived from the Western scientific tradition.

While the latter tradition has great beauty, power and utility, attempts to apply it universally without regard for traditional knowledge systems has in many cases led to failures in sustainable resource use and the erosion of biological diversity. The imposition of scientific management regimes without the participation of local communities has prompted debate on whether the neglect of traditional knowledge violates human rights, civil rights, and indigenous rights.

 In recognition of these issues, there is a dramatically growing national and international interest in incorporating indigenous knowledge systems (IKS), including traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), into truly participatory approaches to development. Communities are recording tts networks of indigenous and rural communities for promoting IKS are emerging, national institutions are now regarding IKS as an invaluable national resource, and the development community designs development projects that emerge from problems identified and assigned priority by the beneficiaries themselves, and that build upon and strenghten community-level knowledge systems and organizations. is a forum for discussing issues associated with indigenous knowledge systems and traditional ecological knowledge. INDKNOW will carry notices about publications, projects, ideas and questions of individuals and groups working to understand, validate and apply indigenous knowledge systems and traditional ecological knowledge; to promote the use of indigenous knowledge as complementary to the scientific tradition; to expedite the obligations of States to support IKS under provisions contained in Agenda 21, the Biodiversity Convention, and other international agreements and conventions applying to indigenous peoples; to work for protection of IK and just compensation to communities for their knowledge; to support the international Indigenous Knowledge and Development (IK&D) network consisting of more than 2500 participants in 106 countries worldwide; and to facilitate the growing number of formally established indigenous knowledge resource centers.

 Appropriate discussions on INDKNOW include the scope of intellectual property rights or other property rights regimes concerning the protection of traditional knowledge, methods for compensating peoples for sharing their knowledge and for protecting them against unfair exploitation, the relation of traditional ecological knowledge to the preservation of cultural and biological diversity, failures of traditional practices to maintain ecosystem health and meet human needs, methods and ethics for investigating indigenous knowledge, the role of community involvement in using indigenous knowledge for sustainable development, the relationships between traditional knowledge and the Western scientific tradition (e.g.: ethnomedicine, ethnobiology, ethnobotany; ethnozoology, ethnoecology, agroecology, natural forest management; etc.) and their complementary use for planning and decision-making, the use of indigenous knowledge in sustainable development, the close involvement of local communities with development planning, the development of formal and non-formal education systems for the transmission of traditional knowledge, and strategies for empowering local communities and indigenous peoples to strengthen and incorporate their own belief systems into their self-determined development.

The investigation of indigenous knowledge is contentious because it involves local belief and knowledge that may be sacred or belongs privately to a particular group. It is not the intention of this list to reveal such knowledge and, as such, subscribers should not post details of practices that are not already published or are generally known, that are sacred or private, that involve potentially patentable or commercially exploitable concepts, or that are offered without the informed consent of the originators of such knowledge until generally acceptable methods of compensation are worked out.

Furthermore, the list should not be used for notices about indigenous and rural political struggles, action alerts for halting human rights abuses or for the discussion of primarily spiritual beliefs. While the ability to practice traditional practices and beliefs closely relies on land rights and cultural rights, these issues are covered in detail by NativeNet (a set of electronic conferences sponsored by Gary Trujillo carried on the APC network, as an electronic mailing list, and as a Usenet list. Contact Gary S. Trujillo, and in conferences on the APC network (for information, send a blank e-mail message to econet- We encourage people to subscribe to and follow the important discussions there.

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 This list is facilitated by the Center for Indigenous Environment and Development (CIED), Seattle, Washington, USA; the Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (CIKARD); the Center for Traditional Knowledge (CTK), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; the Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks/Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (CIRAN/NUFFIC), The Hague, The Netherlands; the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) and the Honey Bee Network, Ahmedabad, India; and the University of Washington Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB-UW), Seattle, Washington, USA. Facilitators help maintain INDKNOW as an open forum for discussion, and do not necessarily subscribe to all of the views expressed on the list. Other IKS networks are invited to become facilitators to INDKNOW.

 For more information contact:
Prof. Anil Gupta Chairperson, SRISTI and Honey Bee Network c\o IIM Ahmedabad 380015 India Fax: (91 272) 427 896
Mail to Anil Gupta or Preston Hardison
CIED 4224 University Way Seattle, WA 98105 USA Tel: (1 206) 527-0119 Fax: (1 206) 527-0119

Other useful contacts include:

    Julian T. Inglis, Center for Traditional Knowledge Canadian Museum of Nature P.O. Box 3442, Station "D" Ottawa, ONT K1P 6P4 Canada
    Tel: (1 613) 566-4750; Fax: (1 613) 952 9693.
    Michael Warren, CIKARD 318 Curtiss Hall Iowa State University Ames, Iowa 50011 USA
    Tel: (1 515) 294 0938; Fax: (1 515) 294 1708
    Gerard van Westrienen, International IK and Development Network CIRAN/Nuffic P.O. Box 29777 2502 LT The Hague The Netherlands
    Tel: (31 70) 426 0325 Fax: (31 70) 426 0329
INDKNOW Archives
    Communication for a Sustainable Future, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
    Not very much here yet (I am willing to store articles, news, etc. here if anyone out there wants to make them available). Does contain a valuable and hard-to-get Congressional Research Service Report (1993) on Indigenous Peoples, Biotechnology and Intellectual Property Rights, and another prepared by RAFI for the UNDP on IK and Development.
    Arthur McGee's List of Indigenous Sites Arthur's well maintained list - with good coverage of ethnicity issues.
    Cikard Home page of the Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agricultural Research and Development (CIKARD).
    Consortium for International Earth Science Network (CIESIN) The Information Kiosk contains a number of articles on indigenous knowledge.
    Edward Hammond's Indigenous Peoples, Biodiversity and IPR Site WWW site that focus on Biodiversity and IPR issues.
    Fourth World Documentation Project Mostly legal materials and UN Documents
    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Ottawa, Canada Operates a program on Indigenous Knowledge, which supports a large number of research and information dissemination projects.
    NativeWeb A collaborative effort to build a WWW site pointing to indigenous resources.
    University of Minnesota Forestry Bibliography Bibliography of sources related to indigenous resource management, particularly indigenous agroforestry and common property resources.
    University of Wisconsin Institute for Environmental Studies World Forests Archive Miscellany.
    Dene Cultural Institute, Box 570, Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada X0E 0R0
    Tel: (1 403) 874-8480 Fax: (1 403) 874-3867
    Petr Cizek: Research Director
    P.O. Box 29777 2502 LT The Hague The Netherlands Tel: +31-70-4260324 Fax: +31-70-4260329 or +31-70-4260399 Akke Tick: Editor Publishes the Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor
    Forests, Trees and People Programme - FAO
    Via del Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome Italy Publishes Forests, Trees and People (Newsletter)
    Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN)
    Jonqueres 16-6-D 08003 Barcelona E Spain Tel: +34 3-310-5909 Fax: +34 3-310-5952
    Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network (IPBN)
    1 Nicholas Street, Suite 620 c/o Cultural Survival - Canada Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7 Canada Tel: (613) 237 5361
    Native Seeds/Search
    2509 North Campbell Avenue, No. 235 Tucson, AZ USA Tel: (602) 327-9123
    Pew Charitable Trusts
    Three Parkway, Suite 501 Philadelphia, PA 19102-1305 Tel: (215) 575 9050 Fax: (215) 587 4077 The Pews Fellows for the last few years have formed a Working group on Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights, and includes Anil Gupta from the Honeybee Network (see below) and Gary Nabham of Native Seeds/Search).
    Rural Advancement Fund International - Canada
    71 Bank Street, Suite 504 Ottawa, ON K1P 5N2 Canada Tel: (1 613) 567-6880
    Rural Advancement Fund International - US
    101 Hillsboro Street, Rm 5 P.O. Box 655 Pittsboro NC 27312 USA Tel: (1 919) 542-1396
    Rural Development Forestry Network
    Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Regent's College Regent's Park, Inner Circle London NW1 4NS UK Tel: (44 71) 487-7413 Fax: (44 71) 487-7590 Publishes: Newsletter that often features indigenous issues
    South and Meso American Indian Rights Center
    P.O. Box 28703 Oakland, CA 94604 USA Tel: (1 510) 834-4263 Fax: (1 415) 834 4264 The related list is Subscribe by mailing ("subscribe saiic-l") Has just published an issue of Abya Yala News on "Confronting Biocolonialism" worth getting.

    Working Group on Traditional Resource Rights Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics and Society Oxford University Mansfield College 51 Banbury Road Oxford OX2 6PE Tel: + 44 1865 270 886 Oxford Centre or Working Group: Dr Darrell A Posey, Nina Booth-Clibborn: Project Administrator