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Leroy Little Bear: Native Science and Western Science (Video)

The Library Channel is pleased to present the seventh installment of The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community. Leroy Little Bear, Head of the SEED Graduate Institute, former Director of the American Indian Program at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus of Native Studies at the University of Lethbridge delivers his lecture Native Science and Western Science: Possibilities for a Powerful Collaboration.

Professor Little Bear believes now is the time for a collaboration between "Western Science" and "Indigenous Knowledge." In the lecture he discusses the tenants or foundation of Indigenous thought and compares them to the Western paradigm.  It is time to tap Indigenous knowledge as native languages can explain things that are paradoxes in English - such as "dynamics without motion" where Indigenous language explains nature without depending on the other language of math. In another example, Professor Little Bear speaks of how the collaboration of Indigenous thought and string theory could complete the Grand Unified Theory of Physics but it will never happen using the standard model.

Delving even further he discusses the holistic, Native paradigm where everything is in flux (moving, changing) existing in energy waves.  The energy waves are referred to as spirit. Everything is animate - so everything has spirit and is related.  In that flux there are regular patterns that humans seek out to renew and sustain themselves.

The lecture series is sponsored by the Heard Museum and Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute; American Indian Studies Program; Department of English; Faculty of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies; Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Labriola National American Indian Data Center and the ASU Libraries; and Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation.

Download Presentation Audio (MP3 Audio)

Lecture Video available for download at the Internet Archive.