Monday, 22 July 2013

Arena of Change

My central topic of research is around how Creative Commons can support the development of policies and protocol to protect and promote indigenous knowledge. This topic has required a lot of reflection and research to reach its current iteration. My initial question around how digital technology impacts on the notion of 'ownership' of cultural and indigenous knowledge was too broad. The focus I would now like to look at is at a policy level to ensure that the use of digital technologies (whatever they may be) are used within protocols designed to protect and promote indigenous knowledge.

In our Aotearoa/ New Zealand context my definitions of information technology and knowledge were the first things to be challenged. Kamira (2002) asserts that from a Maori perspective information technology need not be limited to the conventional academic or industrial definitions. Potentially any means of storing, analysing and desseminating information can be included-even our minds (Kamira 2002, p.4).

Matauranga and hinengaro offer broader definitions on knowledge. Matauranga refers to education and intuitive intelligence, and is linked to the divine. Hinengaro is the mind, the thinking, knowing, perceiving, remembering, recognising, feeling, abstracting, generalising, sensing, responding and reacting (Pere 1991, p.32).  These broader definitions make it clear that the concepts of information technology are within the reach of Maori, but also that our commonly accepted definitions are less complex than some indigenous defintions.

The MindMap I show below is simplistic, but shows at a local, national and global level there is an interplay that supports the outcome to promote and protect indigenous knowledge through policy development at a school level. This in itself will influence classroom practices around the access and use of cultural and indigenous knowledge.

The growing area of interest for me is the Creative Commons, a reaction to traditional copyright and IP laws (Garcelon 2009).  In terms of indigenous knowledge the concept of individual ownership is a foreign one. The notion of guardianship (kaitiakitanga) is a more useful way to look at knowledge protection and promotion. Tiaki is to look after or guard and is a responsibility or an obligation rather than a right due to ownership (Kamira 2009 p.5).  The notion of guardianship will also guide my research.

I welcome your reflections and feedback.

1 comment:

  1. Kia ora Wayne,

    I welcome this research focus - -if not for personal interests in my role as advisory board member of Creative Commons Aotearoa. A key question is what refinements or alternatives of Creative Commons would be appropriate for indigenous knowledge.

    Currently there are about 10 New Zealand schools who have adopted Creative Commons policies (see: ).

    While the notion of Creative Commons moves closer to kaitiaki, but as you point out, copyright is an alien western concept of knowledge ownership. The difference of custodianship in the sense of looking after rather than owning is a significant difference. Also I wonder how the notions of guardianship may differ in the context of "sacred knowledge."

    What is the change dimension you will be examining? Are you planning to look at the "introduction" of kaitiakitanga into New Zealand schools though the adoption of Creative Commons? We need to think carefully about the change focus for your research, in particular how models of change could inform successful adoption. Of interest in the context of indigenous knowledge is whether there are guiding principles for example within matauranga and hinengaro which could guide and inform change and adoption outside of the indigenous knowledge context.

    I'm looking forward to the development of your research project with keen interest.