“Science needs indigenous knowledge”

If you want your research to have an impact, you need to listen to the locals, says Vivi Vold.

By Phillippa Mangalika Maigaard Filtenborg


If scientists forget to use indigenous knowledge in their research on Greenlandic affairs, the research will not have the necessary impact on local society. Thus argues Vivi Vold, a filmmaker with a master’s degree from Illisimatusarfik, The University of Greenland.


She states that to evolve and create development for the Greenlandic society, people need to understand the indigenous ways and the local people need to recognize where they come from.


“When you know yourself and your cultural background, then you can create everything you want to create. When your cultural foundation is in order and you fully know who you are, you can provide more answers to science,” says Vivi Vold.


Vivi Vold experiences that a lot of researchers from other countries try to make their research fit into Greenland without understanding the indigenous way of life.


“Sustainable living is very rooted in our culture. To respect nature and each other. When we understand our connection to nature and culture, we’ll be able to solve problems within science and focus on how to evolve,” Vivi Vold explains.


She also points out that locals need to trust that the Greenlandic values are good enough and hold many answers. And when Greenlanders understand their background, it is possible to make sustainable developments tailored to the local society.


“When you carry yourself with you, when you respect yourself, the knowledge you possess and the value your knowledge can give to society and science, then you also know how to solve things, collaborate and cooperate in every way,” says Vivi Vold.