Traditional Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Chippewa) knowledge, like the
knowledge systems of indigenous peoples around the world, has
long been collected and presented by researchers who were not a
part of the culture they observed. The result is a "colonized" version
of the knowledge, one that is distorted and trivialized by an
ill-suited Eurocentric paradigm of scientific investigation and classification.
In Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive, Wendy Makoons
Geniusz contrasts the way in which Anishinaabe botanical knowledge
is presented in the academic record with how it is preserved
in Anishinaabe culture. In doing so she seeks to open a dialogue
between the two communities to discuss methods for decolonizing
existing texts and to develop innovative approaches for conducting
more culturally meaningful research in the future.
As an Anishinaabe who grew up in a household practicing traditional
medicine and who went on to earn a doctorate and
become a professional scholar, Geniusz possesses the authority of
someone with a foot firmly planted in each world. Her unique ability
to navigate both indigenous and scientific perspectives makes
this book an invaluable contribution to the field and enriches our
understanding of all native communities.