Investigating representations of indigenous peoples and indigenous knowledge in zoos
Jonathan Robert Bowers 1 * , Gail Richmond 1
More Detail
1 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA* Corresponding Author


Many scholars advocate for indigenous knowledge (IK) to be integrated into science education to foster a more inclusive educational environment. Informal science learning spaces provide opportunities for encountering science phenomena and broader perspectives. Zoos have the potential to include IK into their informational signage due to having collections of native plants and animals that are significant to Indigenous communities. The history of zoos being platforms for colonialist ideologies also necessitates acknowledgement of how White Settler colonialism has negatively impacted Indigenous peoples. We therefore investigated how two zoos in North America portray IK and perspectives in zoo sections centering native animals. We found that while both zoos provide strong examples of how IK can be included in zoo signage, certain aspects of IK (particularly that of climate patterns), were largely absent. Additionally, zoo signage largely ignored the impact of settler colonialism on both the natural environment and indigenous cultures.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, Volume 19, Issue 4, 2023, Article No: e2321

Publication date: 02 Oct 2023

Article Views: 883

Article Downloads: 737

Open Access References How to cite this article