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Echeverri J.A.,National University of Colombia | Roman-Jitdutjaano O.E.,Indigenous
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

This letter addresses the indigenous discourse on a set of plant species used by the Witoto Indians of Northwest Amazonia to extract ash or vegetable salt, obtained from the combustion of the tissues of vegetable species, filtering of the ashes, and desiccation of the resulting brine. It aims to demonstrate how the study of the human condition is carried out through a reading of natural entities. The method employed is the indexical analysis of a discourse uttered by the elder Enokakuiodo in the Witoto language from 1995 to 1998, in a verbal genre called rafue, one of several genres of the 'language of the yard of coca'. The species used to extract ash salt are conceived of as coming from the body of the Creator and as an image of the human body. The rafue of salt performs, in words and gestures, a narrative of human affects and capacities by reading ecological, biological, cultural and linguistic indices from a set of plant species. This discourse on plant species is a discourse on the control and management of bodily affects and capacities, represented as ash salts, that are lessons about sexual development which the Creator left for humanity as a guide - a 'sexual education'. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Purpose: Urban and peri-urban agriculture is becoming increasingly important as a source of income and food for the urban population in South Africa. While most studies on urban agriculture have focused their attention on surface soils, there is dearth of information regarding subsoil properties. This study examined properties of subsoil horizons that may impede root growth and productivity of crops under urban agriculture. Materials and methods: The properties of topsoil (0–20 cm) and subsoil horizons (20–40 cm) of four profiles from plots within the city of Mahikeng (25° 48′ S and 25° 38′ E) were examined to determine the nature of subsoil constraints that can limit root growth and crop productivity. The plots were selected in an area extending through four residential suburbs of the city, and two plots with a long history of cultivation were purposely selected from each suburb to represent the main cropping systems and soil types. Soil physical (penetrometer resistance, bulk density, hydraulic conductivity), chemical (pH, exchangeable Ca, Mg, K, Na, phosphorus and boron) and biological (root growth, organic carbon, microbial biomass, enzyme activity) properties were measured in the profiles. Results and discussion: Even though there was a large variability between profiles, the results revealed high bulk density (mean 2.06 Mg m−3) at the top of the subsoil for all the profiles. The corresponding mean penetrometer resistance was 1.89 MPa implying high mechanical resistance to root growth in this layer. The hydraulic conductivities at saturation were below 12 mm h−1 suggesting low drainage which may result in perched water table and waterlogging leading to depleted oxygen in the root zone. The pH in all the profiles was slightly acid to moderate alkaline (6.1–8.3, in water), and low levels of plant available boron (B) were found in the subsoil layers. Most of the profiles had extreme values of physical properties that would constrain root growth. All the subsoil layers had significantly (p < 0.05) lower root growth, organic carbon, microbial biomass and enzyme activity. Conclusions: It was concluded that subsoil constraints to root growth appear to be widespread in profiles of soils used for urban and peri-urban agriculture in the city of Mahikeng. Given that studying and ameliorating subsoil constraints is difficult, time-consuming and expensive, it is recommended that periodic deep ploughing and inclusion of plants with roots which are tolerant or resistant to these conditions be considered as part of routine soil management practice in plots used for urban agriculture. © 2016 The Author(s)

Background: Amongst a long list of health issues driving the disparity experienced by Indigenous Australians, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the primary target. It is the principal cause of death and of excess death among Indigenous people in Australia, and accounts for almost one-third of the life expectancy gap. Most attention has focused on the higher burden of traditional risk factors experienced by Indigenous people to explain CVD disparity. Far less attention has focused on the quality and outcomes of health system performance in explaining these differentials.The CASPA study was a retrospective, mixed-methods clinical registry and quality improvement program established in the NT of Australia, focused on the patterns, burdens, provision of care, experience of services, adverse outcomes and their determinants among 492 patients (214 Indigenous and 278 non-Indigenous). Results: Indigenous patients were significantly younger and more likely to have existing CVD risk factors and co-morbid chronic disease. During hospitalisation they received similar rates of evidence-based care with the exception of lower rates of diagnostic angiography (36.2% vs. 47.6%, p = 0.012), lower rates of in-patient cardiac rehabilitation (8.9% vs. 15.3%, p = 0.03) and lower prescription of discharge statin (44.8% vs. 57.8%, p = 0.006). Indigenous patients were more likely to die during two years of follow-up (30% vs. 17.8%, p = 0.002). Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients were similarly under-prescribed evidence based therapy after discharge. Exploratory qualitative examination of the experience of Indigenous patients in Alice Springs identified significant barriers to care across the continuum. Conclusion: Improvements in the delivery of known effective therapies will make a significant impact on adverse outcomes in Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients alike. Comprehensive and sustained prospective data collection to compliment system reform is essential to improve outcomes and reduce disparity in CVD outcomes experienced by Indigenous Australians. © 2010.

Foley W.,Indigenous
Australian Journal of Primary Health | Year: 2010

This article reports on ethnographic study of urban Aboriginal family food and implications for nutrition promotion. Data were collected over 2 years through in-depth interviews and participant observation in groups conducted through Indigenous organisations in a suburb of Brisbane. Issues when organising family food include affordability, keeping family members satisfied and being able to share food, a lack of cooking ideas, the accessibility of nutrition information, additional work involved in ensuring healthy eating, and a desire for convenience. Many different health professionals provide nutrition advice, often directing it towards individuals and not providing adequate guidance to facilitate implementation. The easiest advice to implement worked from existing household food practices, skills and budget. Cooking workshops helped to provide opportunities to experiment with recommended foods so that women could confidently introduce them at home. Aboriginal women are concerned about healthy eating for their families. Disadvantage can limit dietary change and the complexity of family food work is often underestimated in nutrition promotion. Household, rather than individual, framing of nutrition promotion can lead to more sustainable healthy eating changes. © 2010 La Trobe University.

This article shares results of a community-based (CBR) study that qualitatively examined the perceived health impacts of environmental dispossession among Elders in two Anishinaabe communities in Ontario, Canada. Through in-depth interviews, Elders (n=46) recounted changes in health and well-being, specifically that related to reduced access to traditional foods and decreased capacity to participate in, and share knowledge of, land-based practices. Elders discussed the ways in which they have remained resilient to these changes in their ways of living. With a greater purpose of proposing solutions that will improve contemporary patterns of Indigenous health, this research underscores the importance of engaging theoretically in concepts of environmental dispossession and resilience. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Meyer M.A.,Indigenous
Environmental Education Research | Year: 2014

This short piece offers two literal and figurative snapshots of what land education looks like in action in Hawaii. The first snapshot depicts a contemporary example of Indigenous Hawaiian taro cultivation in the Limahuli valley on the island of Kauai. The second snapshot illustrates the food sovereignty movement in Waianae, Oahu located at the Kaiao Garden grown by the Hilo Boys and Girls Club. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AISL | Award Amount: 613.49K | Year: 2011

Native Universe: Indigenous Voice in Museums, a collaboration between the Indigenous Education Institute, University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, builds on the successful NSF-funded Cosmic Serpent collaborative (DRL 07-14631/DRL 07-14629). The Cosmic Serpent professional development project explores commonalities between native and western science, enabling participants to use STEM as an entry point for museum programs and exhibits. Native Universe endeavors to move to the next level by creating a professional development program which fosters systemic institutional change through the infusion of indigenous voice in programs and exhibits focusing on environmental change. Topics to be explored include species distribution, environmental vulnerability, adaptation of human systems, and science and policy issues on the local, regional, and global levels. This project is designed to assess how cultural background and exposure to indigenous knowledge systems integrated with western science influence these perspectives; develop sustainable institutional competence in presenting multiple perspectives on environmental change; and create models for inclusion while building an enduring community of practice.

The project design relies upon a conceptual framework grounded in the literature on indigenous voice and traditional ecological knowledge, as well as current models for institutional change. Front-end, summative, and process evaluation will address questions related to how science museums facilitate engagement and inclusion of indigenous voice in the presentation of environmental change content, stages of readiness, and the emergence of models for this process. Methods for data collection include reflective logs, pre-post questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews at multiple points to measure the degree and nature of change within museums, as well as how change was initiated, supported, and sustained by staff. Project deliverables include three museum case studies developed during 9-month residencies, public experiences for visitors, a culminating virtual conference, and a dynamic community of practice among museums committed to indigenous voice in informal science education. The museum residencies will take place at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Museum of the North in Alaska. Intensive case studies will be conducted at each site following the Diné Strategic Planning Process (consisting of initiation, growth, implementation, and renewal) and featuring the Ìmiloa Astronomy Institute as a model for institutional change. Exhibits and programs have been identified at each site that will be developed or expanded to integrate environmental change content and native perspectives. Dissemination of the project findings will be accomplished through publications, conference presentations, videos, webinars (four per year), and the virtual conference.

It is anticipated that this project will impact over 1.2 million visitors at the collaborating institutions, in addition to the professional audience of museum staff. Native Universe may provide valuable interpretive tools for the field to understand and address the challenges associated with integrating cultural perspectives and science content. The museum case studies will contribute knowledge about the cultural process of science learning, and may transform the way science is presented in museums by leveraging indigenous voice to enhance public awareness and understanding of environmental change from a culturally-grounded perspective. The overall benefit is increased participation of indigenous individuals in STEM and increased public science literacy in the area of environmental change.

Clifford A.C.,Indigenous | Doran C.M.,University of Newcastle | Tsey K.,James Cook University
BMC Public Health | Year: 2013

Background: Indigenous peoples of Australia, Canada, United States and New Zealand experience disproportionately high rates of suicide. As such, the methodological quality of evaluations of suicide prevention interventions targeting these Indigenous populations should be rigorously examined, in order to determine the extent to which they are effective for reducing rates of Indigenous suicide and suicidal behaviours. This systematic review aims to: 1) identify published evaluations of suicide prevention interventions targeting Indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, United States and New Zealand; 2) critique their methodological quality; and 3) describe their main characteristics. Methods. A systematic search of 17 electronic databases and 13 websites for the period 1981-2012 (inclusive) was undertaken. The reference lists of reviews of suicide prevention interventions were hand-searched for additional relevant studies not identified by the electronic and web search. The methodological quality of evaluations of suicide prevention interventions was assessed using a standardised assessment tool. Results: Nine evaluations of suicide prevention interventions were identified: five targeting Native Americans; three targeting Aboriginal Australians; and one First Nation Canadians. The main intervention strategies employed included: Community Prevention, Gatekeeper Training, and Education. Only three of the nine evaluations measured changes in rates of suicide or suicidal behaviour, all of which reported significant improvements. The methodological quality of evaluations was variable. Particular problems included weak study designs, reliance on self-report measures, highly variable consent and follow-up rates, and the absence of economic or cost analyses. Conclusions: There is an urgent need for an increase in the number of evaluations of preventive interventions targeting reductions in Indigenous suicide using methodologically rigorous study designs across geographically and culturally diverse Indigenous populations. Combining and tailoring best evidence and culturally-specific individual strategies into one coherent suicide prevention program for delivery to whole Indigenous communities and/or population groups at high risk of suicide offers considerable promise. © 2013 Clifford et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Kljakovic M.,Indigenous
Australian Family Physician | Year: 2012

Background: Patient understanding of diagnostic tests is important in general practice. This study describes how patients understand information about their tests, using blood tests as an example. Method: A survey of patients attending two hospital blood collection centres in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. Results: An 89% response rate (n=135): 90% of patients understood the reasons for tests but only 19% could name them; 86% reported that their doctor explained their tests and 89% reported they understood their doctor's explanation. Doctors offered 35% of patients a copy of test results. Patients who knew their general practitioner were more aware of preparations needed for undertaking blood tests (p<0.001). Thirty-six percent would seek information from the people working at blood collection centres. Discussion: Patients understood the reasons blood tests were ordered, although only a few could name them. A strong relationship was found between doctors explaining blood tests and patients understanding the reasons for tests. Nevertheless, information sharing was at a low level.

News Article | December 5, 2016

As Indigenous peoples faced off against armed police and tanks near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Dakota, theirs wasn’t just a battle over a pipeline. It was a battle over a story that could define the future of America. The Obama administration’s decision yesterday to refuse the Dakota Access pipeline permission to complete its construction has now shaken up that story. Its old version was that Indigenous peoples have always been in the way of progress, their interests a nuisance or threat, their treaties a discardable artifact. In that story, the American heroes forged on these high plains of the west were never the Indians: they were the gold-diggers or gamblers, the cowboys or cavalry. But over the past months, it became impossible to watch peaceful Indigenous people and supporters attacked by snarling dogs, maced, and shot with rubber bullets and water cannons in freezing conditions, and still see in them a threat. It was impossible to look upon these young Indigenous men and women, in jingle dresses or on horseback, and not observe the courage that America desperately needs. It was impossible to listen to the cry of their slogan and not hear a rallying vision for all of us: Water is Life. Along the snowy banks of the Missouri river, a new story is being painfully birthed. It tells us that frontiers must at some point close. That endless taking must become care-taking. And that Indigenous rights, cast aside for too long, are a key to protecting land and water and preventing climate chaos. America is waking up to new heroes. This is not high-minded romanticism. It is hard-bitten reality. All over the world, there are massive pools of fossil fuels—and the infrastructure to rip and ship it—concentrated in the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples. This rush for extreme energy on their lands was never a new crisis for them—it was only the latest stage in a very old colonial pillage. The latest climate science has warned not just that we can’t afford to build this particular Dakota Access Pipeline: we can no longer build any new fossil fuel infrastructure anywhere. Almost everywhere these fossil fuel projects have emerged, Indigenous peoples have been their first and fiercest opponents: the Cheyenne stopping coal in Montana, the Lummi defeating an export terminal in Washington, and throughout my country of Canada, Indigenous peoples standing in the way of mines and tar sands pipelines. Forget all those supposedly progressive heads of state who have touted the Paris climate accord but effectively undermined it with their actions: real climate leaders, those keeping carbon in the ground, are doing so directly on the land. It’s no wonder then that Indigenous peoples continue being pitted against the rest of us. Those with a deep stake in the prevailing economic order cannot have it otherwise. That is how to understand why the local Morton County sheriff would label Indigenous water protectors “evil instigators”—a slur running like a scar through American history. The Lakota, like other Indigenous peoples, have always had to be depicted as the “evil instigators.” How else could they be “hunted like wolves,” as one US general commanded in 1865; how else could the government violate the treaties that guaranteed them a huge tract of the plains, include the path taken by the proposed Dakota access pipeline. Their lands—seized for gold, parcelled for cattle grazing, flooded for dams—have shrunk and shrunk. That is why they are poor and America has become rich. That history squats on the present, explaining the continuing brutality toward them. Attempts by the North Dakota state to police them into submission, and then to deny emergency fire and ambulance services and to prevent delivery of supplies and food to the camp, are part of this lineage. Evicting Indigenous peoples from their lands or starving them out: in truth, the Indian wars never ended. But brave activism has shown that an unbroken history of ugliness and violence is never a guarantee of the future. It turns out treaty rights were never a specimen of the past. They were always living and sacred obligations. In ways clear to more and more people, they have also become the most powerful non-violent weapon for a habitable planet. Which means that honouring the treaty and land rights of Indigenous peoples is now not only a long-overdue moral and legal duty: a stable climate depends on it. And unlike other progressive gains, these treaty rights can’t be so easily dismantled. It’s a lesson that Canadians learned thanks to the Indigenous movement Idle No More, which stirred in the winter of 2012 near the end of a dark decade under the right-wing government of Stephen Harper. As Indigenous peoples round-danced in malls and took over public squares and highways they showed that while government can shred a generation of environmental regulations, it is much harder to tear up constitutional Indigenous rights that are the supreme law of the land—especially ones that Indigenous peoples will fiercely defend on the ground. That is something to remember as Donald Trump and his coterie of climate change-denying corporate lobbyists enter the White House, ready to lift any barriers to fossil fuel extraction. Elsewhere in the world, resource companies have been going through a reckoning with these rights—increasingly recognizing the risks that Indigenous opposition poses to projects. And governments are being pressed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples—an instrument whose long road into international law started almost forty years ago, in meetings in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Who can yet tell to what new paths the victory here will lead. These Indigenous rights will, however, never gain their true and full clout without the power of a durable mass movement behind them. The dirt road in the centre of the water protectors camp displaying the flags of an unprecedented coalition of Indigenous nations is one necessary part of any future equation: the unparalleled support among non-Indigenous peoples is the other. The latter must now grow into the kind of power that can turn these rights into economic and political realities that are impossible to ignore. One promising such gesture of solidarity in early November was the astonishing 1.4 million people who symbolically signed into Standing Rock on Facebook. What if just a fraction of these people were willing to travel to an Indigenous blockade not only virtually, but in real life? What if land and water protection camps sprung up all over the continent, shutting down toxic projects while helping build and bring attention to the solar panels and windmills that must power America’s energy future? Alongside continuing divestment campaigns against the banks invested in the pipeline and continent-wide solidarity protests, which will continue through December, this is what can permanently turn the tide. So too the building of surprising but all-too-necessary alliances: like the thousands of American war veterans who joined the Standing Rock camp this weekend to act as human shields between the water protectors and the police and army. The veterans said they operated not under a chain of command but a “chain of responsibility”—a beautiful phrase evoking an ever-widening circle of human and ecological concern and connection. The story is indeed changing: even the cavalry are defecting, themselves becoming water protectors. With the White House soon to be taken over by Trump, the Dakota Access pipeline company may yet be approved next year. Even the environmental review now mandated may still end up green-lighting the current pipeline route. There is a great fight ahead. But a sense of hope and possibility loomed large at the water protectors camp, where celebrations with song and fireworks continued late into Sunday. “This is one of those days when we are turning the corner,” Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Cody Two Bears said. “Not just as Indigenous peoples, but as the world. If we continue to move forward in this way, nothing can prevent us from doing what is necessary.” According to the older story many of us know best, the routing of Indians was an inevitable step to civilizational advance. In the new story being told, their vision and prospects are no longer just their own—they are shared by many of us as well as a delicate planet. This time, if they lose, we all do.

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