Knowledge Keepers

With great respect, we acknowledge those who carry responsibility for what sustains us, in the land and the stories that continue to guide us.

Much has been learned over the five years of our first journey. The project of recovering museum artefacts for community use seems to be spread across the wider world. Alongside this are rituals that occur outside institutions that acknowledge the significance of non-human entities. And thankfully, there is widespread access to tools of communication that can give direct voice to those who are normally spoken for by others.

We’ve evolved our platform to reflect this. Writers are invited to leave an audio welcome in their language which readers can listen to before reading their text (hear the messages in articles by Jules Christian and Rodrigo Castro Hueche’s in Mapudungun, Spanish and English). When anthropologists write for us, we ask for a means to contact people featured in their work (see article in Ainu textiles).

What’s emerged in this process is a form of “circular knowledge”, which takes into account not only information in its abstract form but the world that makes it possible. In the case of many Indigenous cultures, the land on which they live is necessary to sustain their culture, not just databases or university libraries. And many traditional makers struggle with an economic system that values routine urban work like security guards more highly than those who give our culture enduring form.

Garland will continue to evolve. For the second journey, we introduce the role of “thinker-maker” who will reflect the question for a specific issue in the materials on which they work. The first will be Tyson Yunkaporta, whose ideas are developed in the weapons he carves out of wood.

We will also be creating a repository where we can reflect on what’s been learnt. This “knowledge house” will be a place to talk and read that is not subject to the contingencies of institutions, which seem particularly precarious in a post-COVID world.

Knowledge keepers are given special authority to reflect on what happens on the platform, particularly in our live events.

Knowledge keepers come from those Indigenous and traditional culture-makers from all countries who have actively engaged in the platform. The aim is to reflect a diversity of perspectives and provide openness to critical and constructive feedback.

For more immediate concerns, we will also have a number of Story Keepers who come from a range of backgrounds that will keep us informed about interesting stories worth publishing.