Wisdom of the Elders: Native and Scientific Ways of Knowing about Nature

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Greystone Books, 2008 - Nature - 288 pages
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First Published in 1992, this classic David Suzuki title is now available with a new introduction. A meticulous gathering of both scientific insight and Native knowledge, Wisdom of the Elders offers a way to reconcile our place in nature, by listening to our elders.

From the foundations of time, the big bang, and the creation of the cosmos, to the fate of the earth as predicted by leading scientists and the sacred stories and traditions of Native peoples, this acclaimed collection of the world’s wisdom shows that the future of the planet lies in listening to both these worldviews.

Co-published with the David Suzuki Foundation.

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Wisdom of the elders: honoring sacred native visions of nature

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This book provides an interesting examination of some of the ecological themes that are of concern both to scientists and indigenous people in various parts of the world. The authors ( Genethics ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Peter Knudtson is a Victoria-BC-based nature writer who has written on topics ranging from molecular genetics and natural history to anthropology, ecology, and ethics.

Born and educated in the US, he holds a master's degree in biology from California State University, where he carried out field studies on the behavior and ecology of seals. He has a B.A. in premedical zoology from the University of California and carried out graduate studies at the University of North Carolina and the Graduate School of Journalism-Berkeley.

After stints as a wildlife biologist and teacher in Alaska, Knudtson immigrated to Vancouver, BC in 1983. There, teaming up with renowned science broadcaster David Suzuki, he later researched and wrote two Canadian non-fiction best sellers. Genethics (1989)—a “recombinant” term he coined while living in Alaska--examines ethical issues arising from new recombinant-DNA technologies and is one of a handful of books that Harvard University Press has honored as one of its “Classics in Science and Philosophy.” Wisdom of the Elders (1992) explores parallels between scientific and Native views on nature and appears regularly on reading lists for courses in Comparative Religion, Environmental Philosophy, and Native Studies around the world.

His other works include The Wintun Indians of California (1977), A Mirror to Nature (1991), Orca (1996), and The World of the Walrus (1998).

He has won numerous writing grants and awards over the years—most recently the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (2006), a major national arts award for “outstanding achievement in literature”—based on his entire body of work.

David Suzuki is an acclaimed geneticist and environmentalist, the host of The Nature of Things on CBC Television, and the founder and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation . He is the author of more than forty books, including Good News for a Change, From Naked Ape to Superspecies, The Sacred Balance, and Tree. He is the recipient of Unesco’s Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environmental Medal, the UNEP’s Global 500 award, and has been named a Companion of the Order of Canada. In addition, he holds eighteen honorary degrees and he has been adopted into three First Nations clans. Suzuki lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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