To support the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) new memorandum aiming at elevating Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK), USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is encouraging applicants to include ITEK in their grant proposals when appropriate.
NIFA recognizes the contributions indigenous communities have made to advancing environmental sustainability and responsible stewardship of natural resources. The new statement has been added to Request for Applications as a strategy to increase applications benefitting tribal communities and remedy imbalances in support for tribal communities.
According to the memorandum, “ITEK is a body of observations, oral and written knowledge, practices, and beliefs that promote environmental sustainability and the responsible stewardship of natural resources through relationships between humans and environmental systems. It is applied to phenomena across biological, physical, cultural and spiritual systems. ITEK has evolved over millennia, continues to evolve, and includes insights based on evidence acquired through direct contact with the environment and long-term experiences, as well as extensive observations, lessons, and skills passed from generation to generation. ITEK is owned by Indigenous people—including, but not limited to, Tribal Nations, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”