WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn56 )

Tribal Communities and Their Indigenous Knowledge Systems with Reference to Contemporary Issues

Organizers

    M. Ramakrishnan

    India

    Department of Anthropology & Tribal Studies, Central University of Jharkhand

    Online - Presence

    Meenal Rawat

    India

    University of Edinburgh

    Online - Presence

    Vivek Kumar

    India

    Department of Anthropology and Tribal Studies, Central University of Jharkhand

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Tulsidas Majhi

    India

    Central University of Jharkhand

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development

Keywords:

Tradition, Folklore, Sustainability, Human Crises, Local Knowledge

Abstract:

The tribal communities, for example, those who are living in India, are known for passing traditional knowledge systems, that are considered relevant for solving some of the problems the contemporary societies face. Traditional knowledge and sustainable development, being contested terms for various reasons, are inseparable as they are closely linked to human development and welfare. The traditional knowledge systems associated with the tribal and indigenous communities have already been proven to have the potential to address the sustainability questions of even the mainstream communities who are housed in urban settlements. Traditional knowledge is understood here as a cumulative body of knowledge developed and maintained by groups of people who are connected through histories and shared landscapes. The understanding and interpretation of the traditional knowledge system has kept it as part of a cultural complex that encompasses languages, folklore, rituals, rites, etc. The unique aspect of this traditional knowledge is that it treats and makes each community as distinct and differentiates one from the other. Moreover, it is a well-proven fact that the traditional knowledge system contributes to sustainable living by focusing on agriculture, forestry, medicinal systems, resistance to human-made crises, and also in natural resources management. There are studies to show that traditional knowledge can make a significant contribution to sustainable development. Considering the importance and significance of traditional knowledge systems of the tribal communities for the broader initiatives of sustainable development, this proposed panel gains significance. The tribal population known for their isolated living and less modernized lifestyles, have retained their traditional knowledge systems that are developed through their constant encounter with nature and their environment. Therefore, this panel aims to cover the following issues and topics: 1. Nature and characteristics of traditional knowledge systems; 2. Definitions and Issues of Sustainable Development; 3. The nature of contemporary human crisis; 4. The forms in which the traditional knowledge can be found/traced; 5. Nature of stakeholders of traditional knowledge systems; 6. Evaluation of sustainable policies, plans and programmes; 7. Acknowledgement and endorsement of social and cultural bases in which traditional knowledge is embedded; 8. Issues related to traditional knowledge systems; 9. Promotion models for environmental and sustainable governance; 10. A genuine partnership between scientific and traditional knowledge; 11. Creative awareness among the traditional tribal communities about the value of their resources; 12. Rights including copyrights, intellectual property rights and other rights, etc. These are not an exhaustive list of issues, and thus, the scholars can explore new areas and themes can also be explored. Further, the humanistic perspective of the traditional knowledge system in connection with the tribal and marginalized communities must also be paid attention. Particularly, issues associated with the erosion of traditional knowledge need to be addressed here. There are social movements, protests and struggles by the tribal communities in recent days to protect their own traditional knowledge and their environment must also be paid attention to in this panel.