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Enshrining Indigenous Knowledge in the National Science Curriculum: Issues Arising from the Maori Case

Jones, Michael E., and Joshua Hunter. 2003. "Enshrining Indigenous Knowledge in the National Science Curriculum: Issues Arising from the Maori Case." Presented at "Politics of the Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Practices", Chiang Mai, Thailand, July 11-14, 2003.

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From pages 23-24:

"It is reasonable to expect that there will be those New Zealand nationals who oppose the idea of a Maori Nation and supporting the integration of Maori indigenous knowledge into the national school curriculum. The objectors are believed to be a minority and have legitimate concerns regarding human rights pitted against democratic rights. The Government of New Zealand will have to uphold national democratic principles and at the same time ensure autonomy of the Maori Nation and all the rights to which indigenous peoples are entitled. The current emphasis on New Zealand unity needs to continue and be the responsibility of every citizen. The Maori Nation holds the Treaty of Waitangi as the condition of trust and the basis of relationship with the non-Maori. Non-Maori need to respect this document in the same manner and perceive it as the unifying document that has allowed the relationship to commence and endure. Above all, it must be remembered that unity does not equate assimilation an approach that weakens both democratic, civic activity and indigenous identity. Productive societies find their own means of interaction and unity from strength of civic process, unfettered identity, and shared spaces.

"The Maori Nation was nearly decimated by the loss of civic process, fettered identity, and loss of place through appropriation of rights, land, and attempts to assimilate culture into a meaningless context. Unification within New Zealand will only be possible if there is a designed program to reclaim and reaffirm Maori culture, language, traditions, and sense of place. This is critical since the sense of place is closely linked with Maori indigenous knowledge and identity. Maori indigenous knowledge is related to the ecological balance of their habitat, making preservation of biodiversity an essential element of their rights and sense of identity. The GNZ can do little harm and provide great potential strength by pursuing measures to acknowledge the indigenous knowledge already embedded in the historical contours of the country and make it an essential element of the national resource base. There is also great merit in making the environment and its bio-diversity elements of societies evolvement toward unity in diversity."

Document Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: IASCP
indigenous knowledge--New Zealand
Maori (New Zealand people)
education--New Zealand
indigenous institutions--New Zealand
culture--New Zealand
science--study and teaching
ID Code: 1138


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