Biocultural Engineering Design for Indigenous Community Resilience
American Indian Studies
AdvisorColombi, Benedict J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIndigenous peoples worldwide are engaged in the process of rebuilding and re-empowering their communities. They are faced with challenges emerging from a history of physical, spiritual, emotional, and economic colonization, challenges including a degraded resource base, lack of infrastructure, and consistent pressure on their land tenure and ways of life. These communities, however, continue demonstrating profound resilience in the midst of these challenges; working to re-empower and provide for the contemporary needs of their people in a manner grounded in supporting bio-cultural integrity; the interconnected relationship of people and homeland. At the same time, in response to contemporary environmental degradation, the fields of resilience science, adaptive management, and ecological engineering have emerged, the recommendations of which bear remarkable similarity to Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies, and governance structures. The relationship between these fields and Indigenous epistemology, underscored by experience in the field, has led to the conceptualization of bio-cultural engineering design; design that emerges from the inter-relationship of people and ecology. The biocultural engineering design methodology identifies the unique cosmological relationships and cultural underpinnings of contemporary Indigenous communities, and applies this specific cultural lens to engineered design and architecture. The development of resilience principles within the fields of architecture and engineering have created avenues for biocultural design to be translatable into engineering and architectural design documents, allowing access to large scale financial support for community development. This method is explored herein through literature and analysis of practical application in several different Indigenous communities and nations. This method lends itself to future research on biocultural design processes as a source of technological and design innovation as Indigenous communities practice placing their values and cosmologies at the center of development decisions, as well as comprehensive start-to-finish documentation of the methodology applied to diverse engineered applications, including water systems, energy systems, and building construction.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies