Biocultural Stewardship: A Framework for Engaging Indigenous Cultures

It is important to cultivate a respectful and engaging approach to developing and maintaining relationships with indigenous cultures. I propose that two fields of inquiry, bioculturalism and stewardship, be considered together as biocultural stewardship in order to strengthen both. My main premise is that the dominant culture of a country or region bears more responsibility for creating relationships with indigenous cultures because of inherent power differentials, as well as histories of oppression and marginalization. However, it is arguably a matter of necessity at this point in human existence to move past the perceived barriers of culture toward more open and respectful relationships. It is critical to consider the complex and daunting challenges associated with sustainability issues from a variety of perspectives, including those of indigenous cultures. Biocultural stewardship provides a perspective on land use practices and governance that is culturally relevant to indigenous cultures and illuminates pathways for Western cultures to recognize the interdependence of people and nature. It fosters conditions for creating relationships with indigenous cultures to promote biological and cultural conservation and relearn indigenous understandings of alternative ways for humans to relate with the natural world.

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Reference: Daniel Caston. 2013. Retrieved from


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