The Medicine Wheel: Environmental Decision-Making Process of Indigenous Peoples

In this episode, we’re joined by Kristiina A. Vogt and Michael E. Marchand and to discuss their book, The Medicine Wheel: Environmental Decision-Making Process of Indigenous Peoples. The goal of this book is to lay the context for how to connect Western science and Indigenous knowledge frameworks to form a holistic and ethical decision process for the environment.

The medicine wheel built by Indigenous people acknowledges that ecosystems experience unpredictable recurring cycles and that people and the environment are interconnected. The Western science knowledge framework is incomplete when localized intergenerational knowledge is not respected and becomes part of the problem-definition and solution process. If both forms of knowing continue on separate parallel tracks, the decision process will most likely identify the “symptom” of an environmental problem and not the “disease” causing it. 

The goal of this book is to lay the context for how to connect Western science and Indigenous knowledge frameworks to form a holistic and ethical decision process for the environment. A collection of essays, interviews, stories, and research, The Medicine Wheel does not just describe the problems inherent to each knowledge framework but offers new insights for how to connect culture and art to science knowledge frameworks. In the words of Doug Decker, The Medicine Wheel is a volume you’ll want to consult time and again, and to share with your peers.

Dr. Mike E. Marchand is a former Chair and Council Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville, President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation, and he earned his PhD at the University of Washington Seattle. Kristiina A. Vogt is professor of ecosystem management and holistic assessment of ecosystems at the University of Washington Seattle. 

The Medicine Wheel: Environmental Decision-Making Process of Indigenous Peoples, is available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers. You can find Dr. Marchand on Facebook, and you can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to Daniel Trego, Madiha Ghous, Kylene Cave, and the team at MSU Press for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo. 

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