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TOK and the Adivasi People

Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

Organised by Theory Of Knowledge teacher, Martin Milner, we were privileged on Tuesday 22 November, to host a visit and presentation by a member of the Adivasi people of the Nilgiri Hills in southern India.

The presenter revealed a unique biosphere landscape, one shared by people, unique plants (one species flowers only once in every twelve years) and dangerous animals. He spoke about using indigenous Adivasi knowledge to solve current issues, especially the problem of elephants and humans living in ever closer proximity. Thirty-four people were killed by elephants in the region last year alone, aside from numerous injuries. People and agriculture are seen by the Adivasi people as a threat to the elephants' existence. They believe that humans are invading the elephants' territory and, therefore, problems that arise are those brought about by humans and they need to be solved with the elephants foremost in mind. Indigenous knowledge of elephants, their nature and behaviour is being employed effectively to manage the problem.

A powerful adjunct to the Grade 11 TOK students' exploration of indigenous knowledge systems,  the visit provided a first hand opportunity for our students to engage with a person from a quite different culture and was yet another positive example of learning beyond the classroom.