Queen's University

Indigenous Human Ecology: the new frontier for Indigenous Studies

This project is currently a proposal to the Native American Indian Studies Association (NAISA) for the 2019 NAISA Conference in New Zealand.

Photo: Queen's University Professor and Queen's National ScholarDr. T'hohahoken Michael Doxtater, standing before the construction of an indigenous lodge buildingThis paper describes the advent of teaching Indigenous Human Ecology at Queen’s University that centers the content of advances in Indigenous research and teaching since the 1990s. Three courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels titled “Topics in Indigenous Human Ecology” and “Rotinohsyonni Indigenography” pedagogically affirm the realm of multiliteracy education. However, the content features Indigenous People. Indigenous Human Ecology examines Indigenous arts and sciences through Indigenous eyes.

The era to decolonize Indigenous academia includes major thematic, pedagogical, social, historical, and research frontiers used by Indigenous People to examine their realities. The role of Indigenous Human Ecology is to collect, inventory, and catalogue trends in the theory and practice of Indigenous Knowledges. This paper briefly describes exemplars of Indigenous Knowledges that includes:

  • Indigenology, or the study of the theory and practice of Indigenous Knowledge;
  • Indigenography, or the transmission of knowledge in textual, videographic, graphic, audio, and performative forms and languages;
  • Indigenosophy, or the cosmological, epistemological, metacognitive understanding of how things came to be;
  • Indigenagronomy, or the means for food security as social capital;
  • Indigenomastics, or the study of Indigenous place names;
  • Indigenocracy, or how Indigenous People governed over their affairs in their own way;
  • Indigenopathy, or how protected ourselves from any threats to our health;
  • Indigenometry, or the design of housing, community, clothing, and social systems. 
  • Indigenagogy, or the transmission of culture.

There are other Indigenous Knowledges, but I discuss these examples as propositions that provide a response consistent with the aims for studying Human Ecology.