EC now following Jeff VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach. This excerpt is from “Eco Watch: Robin Wall Kimmerer in Sun Magazine on ‘Two Ways of Knowing.’” (More from and about VanderMeer soon.)
The Sun Magazine recently published a fascinating interview with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, who fuses her formal science background with knowledge from her background as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kimmerer is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She also serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
I encourage you to read the entire interview, which speaks to a holistic and more complex view of ecosystems and the environment–and one that’s useful in thinking about how we combat global warming and biosphere degradation but also in how we re-imagine our relationship to the Earth in a more meaningful and positive way.
It’s useful, too, in pushing back against the frequent fetishizing or simplification of the cultures of various Native American and First Nation peoples–first by thinking of these diverse and varied cultures reductively as one culture and second by thinking of their views of the environment as being only “mystical” and not practical. I’d also argue that within the realm of “traditional” science, Kimmerer’s comments point to a vital fact: while specialization in science is important it can also be extremely limiting.
Continue reading here.