Indigenous Knowledge Library

Indigenous knowledge—also known as traditional knowledge—refers to information, meanings, purposes, and values that Indigenous peoples have gathered, conceptualized, studied, and passed through generations for thousands of years. Indigenous knowledge offers solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues, from environmental crises and declining biodiversity, to equity, justice, and holistic health systems. 

Prior to colonization, Indigenous ways of knowing formed the basis of all aspects of Indigenous life, including language, culture, spirituality, architecture, agriculture, and technology. During colonization, the racist devaluing and destruction of Indigenous knowledge served as a key justification for Native American cultural assimilation and genocide. Indigenous American knowledge was criticized, banned, erased through cultural assimilation, and purposely destroyed, in favor of Western, Eurocentric views. Over hundreds of years, these colonial practices have created unsustainable development patterns, which now harm all people.

Indigenous peoples have worked tirelessly to maintain Indigenous ways of knowing and being since the advent of colonization. Today, Native American communities and activists are leading a powerful renewal of Indigenous culture, knowledge, and identity. From language revitalization and the renewal of spiritual practices and ceremonies, to Indigenous leadership in environmental crises, the resurgence of Indigenous food sovereignty, and the reclaiming of Two-Spirit identities, Indigenous knowledge is being recentered.

A New Focus on Community Commons

The Indigenous Knowledge Library centers Indigenous knowledge on Community Commons by highlighting over 300 newly-curated resources, tools, and stories that advance cultural renewal, intergenerational healing, health equity, and holistic well-being for Indigenous peoples. The library was developed through a landscape analysis of emerging themes in Indigenous knowledge and prioritizes culturally-appropriate work by and/or for Indigenous authors, creators, and communities. It includes:

  • Indigenous knowledge, research, and storytelling

  • Resources that are related to building and sharing Indigenous knowledge

  • Resources that advance Indigenous health equity broadly

As we work to expand and center Indigenous knowledge on Community Commons, emerging themes include:

  1. Indigenous knowledge, culture, and sovereignty as health care 

  2. Culturally-grounded, community-driven solutions

  3. Moving from acknowledgement and allyship to tangible reparations, land return, and decolonization

  4. Centering intersectional perspectives, including Indigenous people who are disabled, Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+, unhoused, and/or living in economic poverty

  5. Sourcing and leveraging accurate, community-owned data

  6. COVID-19 as a magnifier, emphasizing existing strengths and disparities


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