William H. Thomas

Volume 4, Issue 1 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
With no roads and few services, Hewa traditions remain vibrant. Photo: William H. Thomas, 2007

Buried deep within the Western psyche rests a romantic myth that neither evidence nor exposure has been able to extinguish — the Noble Savage. Although it no longer has scientific currency, the idea that traditional societies uncorrupted by civilization are able to live in balance with their surroundings continues to subtly permeate the discourse on the place of these societies in the modern world. …


by Dawn Wink

Volume 4, Issue 1 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

. . . in the bottom of a dark canyon, I stood in a shroud of voices. They spun up the canyon walls, radiating through the dusky interior. . . . The voices were part of a complex language, a language that formed audible words as water tumbled over rocks, and one that carved sentences and stories into the stone walls that it passed. . .

If you want to study water, you do not go to the Amazon or to Seattle. You come here, to the driest land. …


by David Groenfeldt

Volume 4, Issue 1 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
Lake Michigan at dawn, near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Photo: David Groenfeldt, 2011

It has been proposed that we are living in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in recognition that today the number one actor on the physical condition of the planet is not volcanoes or oceans or earthquakes, but us — people. We are only beginning to come to terms with our power, but one of the first lessons that we need to learn, and quickly, is that “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” This advice gained notoriety when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel chastised the United States for tapping her cell phone. …


Heidi Simper

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”

— Marcus Garvey

Image for post
Image for post
Landscape image of Eluway village where Noonkodin is located. Photo: Heidi Simper, 2014

During the rainy season in the bush of the Great African Rift Valley in Eastern Tanzania, amid Maasai culture, acacia trees, and cries of hyenas in the night, I was conducting my master’s research on Indigenous knowledge transmission at Noonkodin, a secondary school within a small rural village. At last the rain had let up and the morning of orpul was finally here. When I asked the village Elder Kutukai where orpul would be held, he reminded me, “Orpul is not a location, it is a place of mind.” Orpul is a Maasai healing ceremony, known to last for days. Traditionally it is used when someone is ill, for overall wellbeing, and for young warriors preparing for circumcision. During the course of this ceremony, medicinal plants are collected and prepared for consumption as a soup and paired with a large amount of meat. All the while, there is singing and storytelling. Orpul is therefore a significant means by which Indigenous knowledge is transferred between generations, particularly knowledge about medicinal plants. …


Text by Felipe Rodríguez Moreno & Norma Constanza Castaño Cuéllar, Photos by Felipe Rodríguez Moreno

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
Rain defines a great deal of the social relations that take place in the municipality of Bahía Solano. The area’s geographical position produces meteorological variations owing to the change in air currents. This results in constant rainfall in the region, reaching an annual average of almost 5,000 mm. Photo: 2015

Bahía Solano is a municipality located in the Chocó District on the Pacific coast of Colombia, which over the past decades has undergone profound social and cultural transformations. A decree by the Colombian government created Bahía Solano as an agricultural colony in 1935. Under these circumstances, dozens of peasant families from around the country were brought in to settle and farm there. …


by Mary Louise Pratt

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
Red Bay with islands. Photo: Renato Rosaldo, 2015

I grew up in small-town Ontario, in the part of Canada made famous by writer Alice Munro. From the time I was five years old in the 1950s, I spent every summer of my childhood, and part of nearly every summer after that, on a little bay on the west side of the Bruce Peninsula, facing out on Lake Huron and protected by a string of islands a couple of miles offshore. I live there now for three or four months every year. For as long as I can remember, Red Bay has been a place where I feel deeply at home, a place I think I know very well. The environmental challenge now makes me ask, have sixty years of continuous, though not expert, contact with this geography and ecology given me something to think about, to think with? What do I know about this place to which I’ve been deeply connected for so long? …


by Cristina Muru

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
The Nilgiris or Blue Mountains, one of India’s biodiversity hotspots, with diverse endemic fauna, flora, and languages. Nadugani, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. Photo: Cristina Muru, 2012

As main players in the academic debate, the Sciences and the Humanities have started a dialogue only in recent years. Until a few decades ago, the science, technology, engineering, and medicine sectors (STEM) and the humanities, arts, and social sciences sectors (HASS) largely ignored one another, having traditionally followed different aims and methodologies, which in turn have led to separate playing fields for discovery and interpretation. Today, this trend seems to have changed, and the dialogue between STEM and HASS has been growing, along with a stronger desire to move toward a pan-disciplinary synthesis. Nevertheless, obstacles and dead-ends are still at play on the way toward an effective collaboration. …


by Irene Teixidor Toneu

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
Village of Semgourd and its terraced slopes where subsistence agriculture is practiced. Photo: Irene Teixidor Toneu, 2015

Isafarn nudrar means “medicinal plants from the mountains” in Tashelhit, one of the three Berber languages spoken in Morocco. Recently, in collaboration with the Global Diversity Foundation, I spent six months documenting medicinal plant use in the High Atlas and understanding the environmental and cultural landscapes in which plants are used. Once there, I became aware that climate change on the one hand, and new social narratives on the other, are forces threatening local plant conservation and traditional sustainable livelihoods. How can both human and ecosystem conditions in the High Atlas improve? The answer: flowerpots. In my search for ways to find locally sound solutions, I fell in love with what is called “participatory methods in development”: establishing a dialogue between locals, scientists, and the administration. …


by Aleksandra Bocharnikova

Volume 4, Issue 2 | Editorial | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post
An owl in the Bikin River valley. Photo: Alexei Kudryavtcev, 2014

The Sikhote-Alin is a mountain range in Russia’s Pacific Far East. This territory contains one of the largest unmodified temperate forests in the Northern hemisphere. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that its protected areas are “considered to contain the greatest plant and animal diversity on the north-western coastline of the Pacific.”

One of the largest rivers that flow through the Russian Far East is the Bikin. The territory of the Bikin River basin is sometimes referred to as the “Russian Amazon.” This region is well known, not only for its unique nature but also for its Indigenous Peoples, including the Udege and Nanai, who live in the Central Sikhote-Alin range. The cultural center of the Udege and Nanai is the Indigenous village of Krasny Yar. Many traditional festivals are carried out in Krasny Yar. …


by Luisa Maffi and David Harmon

Volume 8 | Table of Contents | Subscribe | Buy | Donate

Image for post
Image for post

“We, the Indigenous Peoples, walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.”

So begins the Kari-Oca Declaration and Indigenous Peoples’ Earth Charter, a landmark Indigenous document drawn up nearly thirty years ago.

In 1992, shortly ahead of the historic UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, informally known as the “Earth Summit” or “Rio Conference”), Indigenous Peoples from all over the world gathered at Kari-Oca, a sacred site near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples on Territory, Environment and Development. In their Declaration, they not only laid out their demands for environmental, cultural, land, and human rights, which they later presented to the leaders of the world’s countries at UNCED. They also expressed their collective vision and intentions for the future: a future of dignity, harmony, and respect, grounded in self-determination and the wisdom of their ancestors. …

About

Terralingua

Working to sustain the biocultural diversity of life — the world’s precious heritage of biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store