Indigenous Culture, Language, and Ecology
Thursday, August 14, 2014: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
306, Sacramento Convention Center
Teresa L. Newberry, Tohono O'odham Community College
Ronald L. Trosper, University of Arizona
The aim of this symposium is to explore new territory in an emerging field regarding the role of indigenous language as a carrier of ecological and cultural knowledge. Encoded in indigenous languages are the world views and traditional knowledge systems of indigenous peoples gained by extended histories of interactions with the natural world. Language carries many layers of meaning and intricate understandings of natural processes and landscapes. For example, names of plants, animals and places not only provide a description of the biodiversity of their regions but also contain key biological information such as interrelationships, biogeography, phenology and practical uses. Indigenous culture and language also incorporate knowledge about human relationships and rules of engagement with nature which are crucial to promoting long-term sustainability of the land. This symposium will provide an opportunity to create a shared framework for integrating biological and linguistic conservation goals. This interdisciplinary dialogue is critical to understanding how humans interact with ecosystems and achieving conservation of species and their ecosystems.