TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE (TEK)
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is aboriginal information about the natural environment of a specific area. It is knowledge that has accumulated from generation to generation by any culture that possesses strong ties to nature and the land.
"TEK includes a system of classification, a set of empirical observations about the local environment, a system of self-management that covers resource use... with its roots firmly in the past, traditional knowledge is both cumulative and dynamic, building upon the experience of earlier generations and adapting to the new technological and socioeconomic changes of the present" (Johnson).
Over the past few decades TEK has become an important resource for wilderness conservation, wildlife management and resource development.
TEK is not information passed on in formal settings. Instead, insight about the environment is exchanged during subtle interactions. This knowledge is often transferred from Elders through daily observation and interaction. Hunting, gathering, eating and making tools were all opportunities to learn about the daily and seasonal movement of specific animals - including where to find certain plants and their medicinal uses, forecasting weather or how and when to set prescribed burns. Ironically, as much of the world begins to recognize the significance of TEK, many aboriginal communities are losing their close ties to nature.
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