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Native Science and Western Science: Possibilities for a Powerful Collaboration

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On May 9, Arizona State University (ASU) posted a video of Leroy Little Bear, a member of the Blood Tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Canada), delivering the Spring 2011 Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture and Community. He is the head of the SEED Graduate Institute, and a former director of the American Indian Program at Harvard University.

He discussed how the thinking process is controlled by language. "If I were to say in English dynamics without motion, you would immediately think that's an inherent contradiction. Well we were talking to a Haida Indian from Queen Charlotte Islands and we were asking him about dynamics without motion. He thought about it for awhile but then he comes back and he says 'well that's easy to explain. ... go out on the ocean in a canoe and when you're far enough away from the land or you can't see the land and use it as a reference point you know you're canoe is moving because you're rowing it but 360 degrees around you, you're always the same distance from the horizon, that's dynamics without motion.'"

Little Bear said Native languages can explain things that are considered paradoxes.

The program was opened by Simon Ortiz, a poet, writer and ASU professor, who introduced Little Bear.

The lecture was recorded March 24, 2011 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.