Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass, a chapter in Braiding Sweetgrass - Melding Science with Indigenous Ways of Knowing, by Robin Wall-Kimmerer examines the disparities between traditional scientific knowledge and the indigenous ways of knowing.
Throughout this chapter Robin mentions that she and her graduate student have had to challenge the current way of thinking within academia to observe sweetgrass and the people that utilize it to understand and appreciate these indigenous perspectives.
Part of their trouble was that they wanted to conduct observations that were outside of the traditional scientific method. To do this they first needed approval from the research committee. She states that there were challenges related to getting the research approved because it strays from the traditional scientific method. The purpose of this experimental study is to understand the plant without sticking to a rigorous method, but rather listening to the grass and understanding our relationship with it.
The utilization of transdisciplinary research for Robins study may look like asking those that are the basket makers what their management of the sweetgrass is. This would allow for a perspective shift and enable the researchers to engage is disciplines outside of academia. Additionally, while the book aims to break from the traditional scientific method, it may serve them to apply PAR to their experiments in the form of qualitative research questions and utilize coding of responses to understand the indigenous perspective through a different lens. These are a couple of ways that the author could utilize transdisciplinary research methods within the context of an academic setting.
-Silas L. Goetz
Madison Tinker and others of the University of Wyoming Ski Team