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

Martin Krzywinski, Staff Scientist, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer


March 31, 2023

Engage my brain, not my eye: the non-negotiables in visual communication of data and concepts – a graphic design workshop

Most people can agree that written communication should be clear, concise, free of grammatical and spelling errors and have the audience in mind. To achieve this, we spend time exploring style manuals and painstakingly editing manuscripts. So, if a picture is “worth a thousand words”, why not spend as much time refining graphics?

In this workshop, Martin Krzywinski, data scientist and visualization artist, will explore what makes a good visual explanation: theme, continuity, clarity and a simple style.

Using audience submissions and other examples, Martin will walk through a step-by-step process for redesigning visuals and highlight practical guidelines in this process.

“Our goal,” says Martin, “will be to consider function above form and dispel the charms of visual garnish.”

Prior to attending this workshop, please watch these two very short videos:

Information on submitting files for this workshop
For this workshop, the approach is critique by redesign: Martin will use the graphics and scientific figures submitted as case studies.

Submissions will be made public. Please do not send anything that may be considered confidential.

A note on submissions:

  • All submissions must be received no later than midnight on Sunday, March 19, 2023, for a chance to be reviewed.
  • Scientific or research-based figures, posters, slides and other graphics or visual materials will be accepted.
  • Submit your work via Dropbox.
  • PDF/Adobe Illustrator or any other line art format is preferred, but you can submit whatever you have.

After this webinar, the audience will be able to:

  • Understand the components of a good visual explanation: context, message, emphasis.
  • Apply key design principles to create good visual explanations: function leading to form, continuity, theme.
  • Identify and remove unhelpful graphics and visual elements.


Martin Krzywinski is a staff scientist with Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer.

“To present clearly, connect broadly, spark imagination and encourage enthusiasm for inquiry,” is Martin Krzywinski’s motto. He values visuals with analytical clarity and artistic dimensions. His information graphics have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, and on book covers and scientific journals such as Science, Nature, and PNAS. He is the co-author of the Nature Methods Points of Significance and Points of View columns, and contributes to Scientific American’s Graphic Science. Every year, he makes Pi Day art, and he is the former owner of Alex, the world’s most popular rat.