Understanding Indigenous knowledge: an insider’s theory

February 24, 2023


Dr. Shandin Pete, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, University of British Columbia

Perspectives on what counts as “knowledge” can be informed by worldviews that differ in important traditional and culturally specific ways. The questions that are asked in the pursuit of knowledge, and the process used to obtain answers, are informed by cultural values and processes and have implications for the intent and purpose of the knowledge acquired. How do our worldviews influence the way we understand data and knowledge? How does data, knowledge and understanding operate in the subconscious? How much of what we perceive to be data or knowledge is inaccessible to those with differing worldviews? This webinar focuses on these questions through the exploration of an Indigenous characterization of knowledge, knowledge production and the questions that remain when Indigenous consciousness intersects with the world.

After this webinar, the audience will be able to:

  • Begin to understand the pathways data can take to become knowledge.
  • Understand how context and knowledge production interact.
  • Explore assumptions and complexities of Indigenous knowledge.


Dr. Shandin Pete (Salish/Diné) was raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Arlee, Montana. He completed a MS in Geology and an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on science education at the University of Montana. He is an assistant professor of teaching in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric science at the University of British Columbia. He is also an independent researcher and co-founder of Tribal Research Specialist, LLC, providing ethnographic and educational research and consultation. In addition, he is the producer and co-host of “Tribal Research Specialists: The Podcast”, a show that discusses matters important in Indigenous communities, including reclaiming research traditions, highlighting Tribal values and bringing to the forefront issue and the current state of affairs. From 2008 to 2020, he served as faculty at Salish Kootenai College where he co-developed their Hydrology program and founded the Indigenous Research Center on campus. Dr. Pete continues to advance understandings of Indigenous research methodologies from Salish philosophical commitments with an emphasis on environmental and geoscience disciplines.

Upcoming webinar

Alex Haagaard and Dr. Clare Ardern


April 26, 2024

Breaking barriers: open science tackles wicked problems and reduces research waste

In 2024, KT Connects is focusing on open science — the practice of making scientific inputs, outputs, and processes freely available to all with minimal restrictions. Learn more

Webinar summary

Friday, April 26  

12 – 1 p.m. PST 

“Wicked problems” are challenges that are difficult to solve and identify because of their incomplete, contradictory, and evolving requirements. To tackle wicked problems, collaboration is essential. Open science (sometimes called ‘open scholarship’ or ‘open research’) aims to solve wicked problems by promoting collaboration, transparency, and knowledge and resource sharing. By including people with lived experiences on research teams, open science helps to make research relevant to knowledge users and reduces research waste. In this session, we will explore how open science principles help researchers authentically engage knowledge users in high-quality research to solve wicked problems in health research.

Learning objectives

After this webinar, the audience will be able to:

  1. Identify knowledge users for specific research projects
  2. Describe three ways open science practices reduce research waste
  3. List at least two barriers encountered by patient authors that open science practices can help to overcome.

Speaker bio

Alex Haagaard is a design strategist specialising in digital accessibility, community engagement, disability justice and health equity. Alex has lived with chronic pain since early childhood. This experience informs their interest in designing and advocating for system-level changes to how healthcare services are conceptualized, planned and delivered. Alex is a member of Pain BC’s Putting the Pieces Together conference steering committee, and co-chair of the Chronic Pain Network’s Knowledge Mobilization and Implementation Science Committee. 

Dr. Clare Ardern is a physiotherapist and assistant professor in the department of physical therapy at UBC. Her research team brings researchers, patients, clinicians and health policymakers together to design digital health interventions for musculoskeletal problems. Dr Ardern is the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) and JOSPT Open. She hosts the popular weekly JOSPT Insights podcast, which reaches over 16,000 regular listeners.