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Local knowledge can improve relationships with the environment

Local knowledge can improve relationships with the environment

After the successive social and environmental catastrophes caused by human action in nature, the search for knowledge that can guide humanity in its relationship with the environment has become increasingly present in scientific research. In many of them, indigenous knowledge, buried by colonial culture, is resurfacing in the form of archaeological excavations.

One example of this is studying Tropical forests as key sites for the Anthropocene: past and present perspectives (In free translation Tropical forests as key sites in the human landscape: past and present perspectives) was conducted in the Amazon region of Peru and published in 2021 in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By investigating changes caused by the inhabitants of the largest rainforest on the planet, researchers concluded that for more than 5,000 years, including the period following European contact, forests were not periodically cleared for agriculture or significantly modified by indigenous people. .

It demonstrated the harmonious experience of these inhabitants with the forest, revealed in the deep layers of the soil “How Indigenous communities have been, and continue to be, positive forces in their ecosystem integrity and biodiversity, and how Indigenous knowledge should be used in conservation and sustainability efforts.”evaluates the study.

This knowledge persists in the many indigenous communities that still exist in Brazil, but it cannot overcome the barriers of formal education offered to the majority of the country’s population, says an anthropologist from the University of Brasilia (UnB). Gersim Banyawa.

“This ancient history, which modern archeology in the Amazon has proven to have existed more than 15 thousand years ago, is unrecognizable from true civilizations that produced much science, much politics, much economics, much trade, much culture, arithmetic.” There were even models of politics for chiefdoms in the Amazon region, with extensive networks of commercial, cultural and political relations. The teacher says.

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All this knowledge was lost in the process of deconstruction of history imposed by the colonialists and continues in education to this day, says the historian from the Federal University of Para (Ufpa). Marcio Cotto. “When we study basic education, the contribution of indigenous people is linked to issues of folklore. They contributed to the network, to the bathing habit, and on the other hand, the white European population contributed, to the formation of a national state, for example. We see there a hierarchy of contributions, where we place the contributions of the white population Primarily, then the African population and finally the indigenous population.notice.

The failure to consider indigenous peoples as subjects of knowledge means that Brazil, in its social and cultural structure, has not only ignored this contribution, but has also ceased to benefit from this knowledge in a large part of its territory. “If we look at conservation areas in Brazil, or even in America, areas where there is more green space, where there are more preserved forests, these areas match the maps of indigenous lands.”Koto reinforces.

Another result, according to Baniwa, is the emergence of generations that have lost the ability to relate to what is around them. “Part of modern science has already begun to understand this world, meaning nature, the cosmos, the cosmos, as living elements, but indigenous peoples already had this for thousands of years.” Highlights.

Archeology itself has proven to be one of the main tools for reclaiming this knowledge and also in overcoming the barriers that prevent it from reaching the classroom. Archaeologist from the University of São Paulo (USP) Eduardo Goes Neves, who has been researching the Amazon for more than 30 years, highlights that the growth of archeology in Brazil has motivated people to research more about this phase of Brazilian history.

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“People are interested, even outside the Amazon region, in a better understanding of who we are and what Brazil is. Brazil was shaped in this image by part of the intellectual elites here in our country, who saw themselves as Europeans transported to the New World. This view is completely wrong, it is a construction that does not “It actually only harms our country.” He explains.

In the midst of the disaster in Rio Grande do Sul, expressions such as “climate crisis” It is questioned by the indigenous anthropologist, who considers it a wrong explanation of the problem caused by lack of access to this knowledge. “It is not a climate crisis, it is not the climate that is in crisis, it is not nature that is in crisis, it is humanity and human civilization that is in crisis. We would rather deceive ourselves, shift our responsibility, and say that it is the environment that is in crisis, rather than say “It is a civilizational crisis for humanity.”He concludes.

* Text containing information from Agência Brasil.