The Wayfinders: Part 1

The wisdom of indigenous peoples is manifest in ways of knowing, seeing, and thinking that are passed down orally from generation to generation. These cultures, often viewed in a derogatorily as primitive, holds crucial lessons for the rest of us – namely that as members of a shared genome, indigenous people possess the same genius and potential for creativity as us, albeit a one that is deployed to cope with their unique environments.

I share four video-lectures which takes you on a journey through distinct tribal cultures and their ways of knowing as they relate to various aspects of life, from social bonding, health and healing and to a healthy respect for the environment.

The tribes featured are

  • The recently extinct Penan hunters and gatherers of Borneo
  • The Arhuacos mountain people of Colombia, known for their century-long track record of environmental protection
  • The Andeans and the great importance that coca leaves had, and continue to have, in the culture of the people of the Andes
  • The Polynesians – ocean navigators par excellence, who for many centuries before Captain James Cook demonstrated the use of Western navigation tools, had almost certainly discovered all of the habitable islands in the tropical Pacific.

The video are excerpts from the series, “Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World“, presented by Wade Davis, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society.

A word about the presenter

Wade Davis, an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” David holds a Ph.D. in ethnobotany from Harvard University, and through the Harvard Botanical Museum, has spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow, an international best-seller later released as a film by Universal Pictures. He is the author of 200 scientific and popular articles and 17 books. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the National Geographic. In 2009, he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, followed by the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers’ Club in 2011 and the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration in 2012.

Videos 3 and 4 will appear in my next post.

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