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Native Canadians First To the Post in Science



A living example of Native Canadian science and technology knowledge rooted in thousands of years of tradition comes to screen in FIRST SCIENTIST – the international documentary screening on Maori Television on Tuesday May 24 at 8.30 PM.

The holistic nature of traditional knowledge is particularly powerful for understanding ecosystems and this film shows how researchers from western scientific and Aboriginal knowledge traditions are working together better to understand the world around us.

FIRST SCIENTIST is a fast-paced introduction to the breadth of knowledge, from igloo geometry to food chemistry to forest ecology, to show how traditional knowledge is as valuable today as it ever was.

Director Mark Sandiford of Exploration Production says the film takes the position that the people of the Americas have developed a rigorous and systematic way of relating to the natural world that is based on a fundamentally different world view.

“In the film, I argue that this form of science is just as valid as its European counterpart and has led to insights that Western science may never match.”

The documentary includes key differences between the two schools of theory. While western science will ask ‘why’, Inuit science will focus on ‘how’ phenomena can be explained. Says Inuit linguist Jose Kusugak : “The idea is to observe, observe, observe. In the Western world, a good student asks the questions. In the Inuit world, a person who asks such questions talks too much.”

Generation upon generation of First Nations people conducting experiments in a real world, recording the results in the products of their hands and in the oral traditions of their communities. The knowledge of the first scientists is an unbroken thread that can only exist if it is continued in practice.

Maori Television upholds indigenous scientific method on FIRST SCIENTIST, screening this Tuesday May 24 at 8.30 PM.


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