“One horrible day 1600 years ago, the wisdom of many centuries went up in flames. The great library in Alexandria burned down, a catastrophe at the time and a symbol for all ages of the vulnerability of human knowledge…
Today with little notice more vast archives of knowledge and expertise are spilling into oblivion, leaving humanity in danger of losing its past and perhaps jeopardizing its future as well. Stored in the memories of elders, healers, midwives, farmers, fishermen and hunters in the estimated 15,000 cultures remaining on earth is an enormous trove of wisdom.
If this knowledge had to be duplicated from scratch, it would beggar the scientific resources of the West.”
Eugene Linden, Lost Tribes, Lost Knowledge, Time Magazine 1991
The Worldwide Indigenous Science Network’s (WISN) Credo Mutwa Digital Research Library is an effort to staunch the loss of this global lifeblood. It brings together Western ways of knowing and Indigenous Science. While Western Science rests on the use of logic to observe, construct hypotheses, test understandings and draw conclusions, Indigenous Science uses the same methods but is more expansive and inclusive. It embraces ceremony, story, songs, intuition and the wisdom of the elders to form a bridge between past, present and future.
The Credo Mutwa Collection:
The Credo Mutwa Collection includes a body of research conducted by WISN and colleagues across several cultures. True to its Indigenous Science roots, the collection is vibrant, fresh and alive — especially its series of video-taped conversations with Elders from Hawaii, Africa, Mongolia, New Zealand, Altai, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil and France. These conversations draw us into their stories, sometimes with surprise endings—as when African and Hawaiian Elders discover they share a common history with the demi-god adventurer Maui. Others, such as the joint effort between….. and ….to save the endangered Himalayan Snow Leopard reveal how partnerships between the two sciences offer a richly textured and highly effective approach to conservation management. Taken together, the Collection explores the meaning of Indigenous Science, its methods and role in today’s world.
Who would benefit from the Collection:
WISN’s Credo Mutwa Library Collection is for the serious researcher, the graduate student and anyone trying to gain a better understanding of the powerful knowledge which underpins Indigenous Science worldwide. Most importantly, in the words of Dr. Apela Colorado, WISN: “We wish the Credo Mutwa Library to honor the legacy of our ancestors and make this life-sustaining knowledge available for future generations.”