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What is TEK?

Traditional Ecological Knowledge or TEK is Indigenous and other traditional knowledge about an ecosystem. This knowledge has often been gathered over thousands of years and shared across generations.

TEK is a complementary approach to understanding and encouraging a sustainable relationship with the Earth. This knowledge can strengthen appreciation and health among all participants in an ecosystem, living and nonliving. For example, TEK often includes appropriate and prohibited harvesting, cultivation, and use of materials and life.

Because each ecosystem and the societies that live there are unique, TEK varies in its specifics. It is a way of knowing and being that is place-based and grounding. Consequently, each culture's knowledge and practices will differ, and it is important to not assume that all Indigenous or traditional knowledge can or should be applied everywhere.

Traditional ecological knowledge is important for maintaining environmental health and cultivating a culture that provides opportunities for all life to thrive.