Integration of Science and Indigenous Knowledge Through the Concept of Cultural biogeochemical Energy: Application to Planning in Madidi National Park and Indigenous Territory of San José de Uchupiamonas

  • Integración de la Ciencia y el Saber Indígena A través del Concepto de Energía Biogeoquímica Cultural: Aplicación a la Planificación del Parque Nacional Madidi y el Territorio Indígena de San José de Uchupiamonas

  • Author / Creator
    Quiroga Yañez, Patricia Cristina
  • The study I present here is about Indigenous knowledge and its integration with science. The purpose of working with such integration, is to propose management principles for an area in the Bolivian Amazon that is both a national park and Indigenous territory—a double category area.The Tacana-Quechua people have been impacted by the colonial period and are currently witnessing the poor results of management plans born of international declarations and conventions. I assert that the dialogue in these organizations and institutions is insufficient and fails to include the Indigenous view of nature due to barriers that prevent understanding—for example, the history of humanity; animism; the medieval language of religion; superstitions and taboos; cultural symbols; paradigm and cosmovision; conservation; and sustainable development. Bolivian legislation regarding the environment has moved towards the Indigenous view of nature, so I conceived a management framework in accordance with the Quechua geometric representation of space, and proposed a new organization of scientific disciplines and academic fields of study that I called evolving disciplines. The principles that I have proposed (talk to Earth, respect in action, etcetera) are set out in that framework and aim at recovering, revitalizing, and preserving the knowledge of the original Tacana-Quechua ancestors for use and application in future planning in Madidi National Park and Indigenous Territory of San José de Uchupiamonas. I applied documentary analysis and the ethnographic method. I examined the work of V. Vernadsky because his concept of cultural-biogeochemical energy overcomes the duality of nature and culture; and his analysis of the geometric representation for two notions—the state of space, and the right-handedness and the left-handedness—are fundamental for understanding nature’s reality, which is the common content between science and Indigenous knowledge. I researched the same notions in Quechua and Tacana traditions during my fieldwork in the Indigenous town of San José de Uchupiamonas, which is located in Madidi National Park in Bolivia—wherein the daily activities of residents and the activities of shamans preserve their knowledge. The Quechua people present a geometric representation of space in their textiles. This representation appears more complex in contrast to the representation of space than most scientists work with; it includes the Universe, the Earth, and the four human dimensions. I emphasize that it is not only the representation of reality that matters but also our interactions with it that can modify reality with the proper use of sounds. Thus, this representation becomes dynamic, ever changing, and mobile. There is a need to promote recognition of the scientific potential of Indigenous knowledge to contribute to human evolution that may lead to a great advance in knowledge hand in hand with science. This integration may take years or decades. There is a need for communication and interaction that, in addition to words and dialogue, also includes the further understanding of a conscious use of sound—this communication and interaction happens between the four human dimensions, the Earth, and the Universe. A future scientific challenge is to deepen the analysis of the concept of cultural-biogeochemical energy and see it as a force that is transforming the biosphere.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
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