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NSF creates new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) connecting Indigenous wisdom with Western science
According to this new article in Nature, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has just launched the Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) based at UMass Amherst with $30 million in funding over five years. The center joins more than a dozen active NSF Science and Technology Centers across the United States that focus on core research areas.The goal is to “cultivate Indigenous knowledge of the environment, and weave it together with Western scientific methods.” It will focus on projects around medicine, weather, climate, and biology. Of particular interest to librarians, the center has “developed its own protocols for managing intellectual property, to ensure that Indigenous communities have a say in how and when information is used by outside entities.”
“As Indigenous people, we have science, but we carry that science in stories,” says archaeologist and center co-director Sonya Atalay who is of Anishinaabe-Ojibwe heritage. “We need to think about how to do science in a different way and work differently with Indigenous communities.”
As well as advancing Indigenous science, CBIKS will attempt to set itself apart in how knowledge and information are managed, disseminated and ultimately returned to Indigenous communities.
Atalay says that her nightmare scenario is a well-established one in which, for example, scientists tap into local plant knowledge and publish and ultimately appropriate it for profit through drug companies. The centre has already developed its own protocols for managing intellectual property, to ensure that Indigenous communities have a say in how and when information is used by outside entities, she says.
Buried under all the Kavanaugh sexual assault hearings and coverage, there was this side note in yesterday’s NYT about the EPA shutting down the office of the science advisor. This senior post is basically the science ombudsman for the agency to assure that the latest science is applied to the agency’s policies, decisions and regulations. This is a sad day for American democracy and the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor, a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A. administrator on the scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, according to a person familiar with the agency’s plans. The person spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public.The science adviser works across the agency to ensure that the highest quality science is integrated into the agency’s policies and decisions, according to the E.P.A.’s website. The move is the latest among several steps taken by the Trump administration that appear to have diminished the role of scientific research in policymaking while the administration pursues an agenda of rolling back regulations.