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Weaving Ways of Knowing

Braiding, Bridging, or Weaving Knowledge

Braiding, Bridging, or Weaving Knowledge:

The terms braiding, bridging, or weaving knowledge systems are commonly used metaphors for how to bring multiple ways of knowing together in a respectful way that does not interfere with the qualities and processes of each knowledge system. Central to each metaphor is the representation of each knowledge system maintaining its integrity, with opportunities to bring their unique ways of knowing together on common ground to address issues of mutual interest.

If you imagine a braid of hair, all three strands are separate entities, but a certain amount of tension is required, as the three come together to form a whole. For the sake of the metaphor, one strand represents Indigenous Knowledge, one represents Western science, and the third represents the respect and understanding that holds the braid together. If the third strand did not exist, the braid would fall apart (Snively and Williams 2018).

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Johnson, J.T., Howitt, R., Cajete, G., Berkes, F., Louis, R.P., and Kliskey, A. (2016) Weaving Indigenous and sustainability sciences to diversify our methods. Sustainability Science, 11, 1–11.

Chapman, J.M. and Schott, S. (2020). Knowledge coevolution: generating new understanding through bridging and strengthening distinct knowledge systems and empowering local knowledge holders. Sustainability Science, 15(3), 931-943.

Video: The Teaching of Plants: Finding Common Ground Between Traditional and Scientific Knowledge with Robin Wall Kimmerer

Podcast: Raccords Episode 1 with Jayce Chiblow and Dr. Deborah McGregor “How can we build bridges between Indigenous and scientific knowledge?”


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