Pathways and Barriers to Weaving Indigenous Science with Western Science

Sustainability science is best when bringing together different forms of knowledge to address societal problems. This research project addresses the barriers and pathways of bringing indigenous science (IS) together with western academic science. Dovetailing with a current NSF INCLUDES grant, the project furthers work to explore and develop best methods for bringing together these different forms of knowledge. The project would be a daunting undertaking if it was not for the initial work that started six years ago with the Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYS) experimenting with ways to bring IS and Western science (WS) together to benefit Native and non-Native peoples. This research advances our understanding of the best methods of bringing these different knowledge traditions together and increase our efficacy in delivering programs related to WaYS.

This project promotes and expands the mission and vision of the Mitchell Center’s desire to connect knowledge to action. The knowledge component expands the traditional scope of western science and creates a more diverse learning experience. The action creates more opportunities for inclusive place-based, hands-on research with applications beyond the four walls of academia.

Team Leader:

  • Darren Ranco, University of Maine, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, UMaine

Team Members:

  • tish carr, Ph.D. Student, University of Maine
  • Pam Cunningham, Cultural Knowledge Keeper, Penobscot Indian Nation Member


  • Noe Puniwai, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies ,Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Honolulu, HI
  • Albert Marshall, Elder Advisor, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources