Dr. Makere Stewart-Harawira is an Associate Professor in the department of Educational Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education. Her research and scholarship are driven by her conviction of the necessity for 1) active critical engagement in the local and global crises of governance and sustainability that confront us in the 21st century; 2) the necessity for a re-visioning of how we live together on this planet; and 3) the vital contribution of traditional Indigenous knowledge systems and languages.

2012 Research Cluster Grant

Indigenous Communities as Stewards of Mother Earth: Responding to the Triple Crisis of Sustainability
In a time of unparalleled crisis, described by the United Nations as a ‘triple crisis of sustainability’ because of the interrelated crises of the environment, of food security, and of the global economy, Indigenous knowledge and customary practices of sustainability are increasingly being recognized as having a major role to play in managing, mitigating and where possible, preventing, the environmental crisis which is impacting across all arenas of human wellbeing. This project directly addresses this triple crisis.

In partnership with Indigenous communities, this project aims to:

  • Identify locally-grounded traditional knowledge and customary practices which inform the prevention, mitigation and reversal of ongoing losses of biodiversity, water scarcity and contamination, and adaptation measures to extreme climate change, particularly in the context of the expansion of extractive resource development; 
  • Identify barriers to the exercise and implementation of such knowledge and practices; 
  • Explore culturally-appropriate, effective and dialogically-based solutions to such barriers; 
  • Explore and understand the implications of traditional Indigenous knowledges, principles, and practices in the development of a new global imaginary for sustainable socal and economic development, based on the maximization of planetary wellbeing.

Keywords: indigenous knowledge, community responses, ecological crisis, cultural practices of sustainability, reversing loss of biodiversity, restoring ecological integrity, climate change, resources development


  • Arts: Anthropology, Political Science
  • ALES
  • Education: Educational Policy Studies, Educational Sociology;
  • Native Studies
  • Community: Athabasca Dene Community, Treaty Six Confederacy, Athabasca Water Keepers