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.

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